In October a victim from Etobicoke reported at the Better Business Bureau that he got a call from a man named John Williams claiming to be from Publishers Clearing House. He was told he won a $4.5 million dollar prize and a pre-paid mastercard: “All I had to do was wire money to Kingston Jamaica to claim my money prize.”
Prizes scam results in single person losing almost $24,000
John Williams was in fact not working for PCH and turned out to be a fraudster. “After numerous times of wiring money to Kingston Jamaica as John Williams instructed, he never followed through with he promise to deliver my $4.5 million. All he did was keep calling me on a daily basis asking me to wire more money to Kingston Jamaica. Finally I told him I had mo more money to wire.” In total the victim wired close to $24,000 to Kingston Jamaica. There are other stories from people losing money.
Publishers Clearing House is fighting against fraud
Publishers Clearing House is a ‘leading interactive media company offering a broad range of products, digital entertainment and services to consumers’. The website is actively trying to prevent their costumers of becoming a victim. If someone is claiming to be from PCH and asks you to send a payment or money card in order to claim the prize do not believe it. This is not the real PCH. They provide videos and note the following advice on their website:
- The winning is always free and you never have to pay to claim a prize award
- PCH does not send e-mails requesting personal banking or financial information in connection with a prize
- PCH does not notify their winners with a phone call, text or private message on Facebook
- Recognizing the difference between legitimate sweepstakes and other types of offers that may not be legitimate will help you protect yourself and your family
Scammers use names of real PCH employees
Scammers may use the names of real employees in their criminal attempts to deceive you. Names you recognize such as Dave Sayer, Todd Sloane and Danielle Lam – all real members of the PCH Prize Patrol. Even the name of Deborah Holland, the Executive Vice President whose name appears in promotional mailers, has been hijacked and illegally used by scammers.
The PCH site notes: “If you are ever contacted by someone claiming to represent PCH, or claiming to be one of our employees, and asked to send or wire money (for any reason whatsoever, including taxes); or send a pre-paid gift card or Green Dot Moneypak card in order to claim a sweepstakes prize – don’t! It’s a scam. If you are sent a check, told it’s a partial prize award, and asked to cash it and send a portion back to claim the full prize award, don’t. The check is fake, but the scam is real!” Always beware of lottery and prize scams.