Are Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes Scams?

How PCH Works and How to Know If You've Really Won

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Everyone's heard of the million-dollar sweepstakes SuperPrize Giveaways from PCH, but should you enter them? Are they worth the effort? Are PCH Sweepstakes real or scams? 

Has Anyone Ever Really Won? 

Some people worry that because they don't know anyone who's ever won, the prizes are never awarded and that PCH sweepstakes are frauds. Others can't imagine how a company could legitimately give away such big prizes on a regular basis and still stay in business. But neither of these issues means that PCH is a scam.

If it would make you feel better to have at least one winner identified, meet Natalie Bostelman. She was skeptical at first, too. 

"I was a little suspicious because I'd received the letter from Publishers Clearing House, but I was trying not to get too excited," Bostelman told us. "So they arrived at my business and surprised me with the big check, the champagne, the flowers, and the balloons. I fell down on the ground and screamed like a fool."

Still in doubt? The Publishers Clearing House Winner's Circle lists recent winners and you can watch PCH winners' videos on YouTube.

As for how PCH can afford to give away such big prizes, it comes down to marketing. The SuperPrize Giveaways have made PCH a household name across America. Some companies try to do the same by running Super Bowl ad campaigns or renaming sports arenas after themselves. PCH does it by giving prizes away.

People Really Do Win Prizes From PCH Sweepstakes

The good news is that Publishers Clearing House's sweepstakes really are legitimate. The bad news is that it is extremely hard to win their mega prizes. It's really, really, really hard.

PCH runs a variety of big creative presentation sweepstakes that give away millions of dollars every year. Those prizes are fairly awarded as advertised. But the PCH giveaways are so famous and so many people enter them that the odds of winning are exceptionally long—about 2.4 billion to one to win the SuperPrize.

Your odds of winning a Powerball jackpot are better. You're also significantly more likely to die in an asteroid strike, become a movie star, or be drafted by the NBA.

PCH receives millions upon millions of entries. The best sweepstakes to enter are usually the ones that are not as well-known. 

Beware of PCH Imposter Scams

Although PCH's sweepstakes are legitimate, you want to be very cautious if you receive a prize notification claiming to come from PCH. Scammers counterfeit PCH letters to trick people out of money.

Imposter scammers try to convince their victims that they're legitimate by sending letters or emails that look like they come from Publishers Clearing House. These scams can seem official, using the real PCH logos and employee names, but they don't really come from PCH.

If you receive a "win" notification from Publishers Clearing House, ask yourself a few important questions. Do you remember entering this giveaway? Is the sender really Publishers Clearing House? Check the email address, telephone numbers, and names to see if they look legitimate, then double-check them against the PCH information that's available online. 

Is the sender asking for money, a credit card number, or a bank account number? Some seemingly odd things are normal when you win sweepstakes, but others are not.  

Does the prize have a high value? PCH doesn't contact winners of prizes worth more than a couple of hundred dollars by email or by telephone. They appear in person or send a certified letter.

If you're still unsure, Publishers Clearing House has a toll-free number that you can call to verify any letter you receive from them. Call 1-877-3SWEEPS (1-877-379-3377) Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. to check if you've really won.

If you've received a sweepstakes spam phone call claiming to be from Publishers Clearing House, the Federal Trade Commission advises that you hang up immediately and report the scam to them.

Is It Worth Your Time to Enter PCH Sweepstakes?

There are some good reasons to add PCH's giveaways to your daily sweepstakes routine. PCH offers truly life-changing prizes that are fun to dream about winning. And although the odds are extremely long, at least you don't have to pay to enter, like you must with lotteries

Remember that you don't have to win a SuperPrize to benefit from PCH giveaways. Aside from their multi-million-dollar giveaways, Publishers Clearing House also offers several other drawings and many of them have better odds. PCH Search and Win gives away prizes every few minutes, and PCH Games lets you win prizes and tokens just for playing online games.

On the downside, PCH sweepstakes take quite some time to enter, and you might receive unwanted email or postal mail. You'll have to take even more time to unsubscribe from them. Weigh whether a slim chance of winning an enormous prize is worth the trouble of entering and managing unwanted marketing contact.

How Do You Enter Publishers Clearing House's Sweepstakes?

There are three main ways to enter PCH sweepstakes: online, by mail, or by telephone.

To enter online, you can find the entry details for the current PCH SuperPrize Sweepstakes here. You can visit PCH.com directly, and you can also enter through other PCH properties like Search and Win or PCH Games. See the Top Ways to Win with PCH for more details.

To enter by mail, you can respond to a PCH mailing that they have sent to you, or you can send your entry to Publishers Clearing House, 101 Winners Circle Jericho, NY 11753.

To enter by telephone, call 1-800-566-4724 with your PCH Customer ID.

If you'd like more information about how to get in touch with PCH, how to unsubscribe from unwanted emails, and how to get more answers to your questions, Publishers Clearing House has a whole list of contact numbers.

Article Sources

  1. PCH.com, "How Can PCH Give Away All That Money?" Accessed Oct. 22, 2019.

  2. Tulane University, "Meteorites, Impacts, and Mass Extinctions," Prof. Stephen A. Nelson. Accessed October 22, 2019.

  3. Chron.com, "Statistics on People Getting Famous in Acting". Accessed Oct. 22, 2019.

  4. NCAA.org, "Estimated probability of competing in professional athletics". Accessed Oct. 22, 2019.