A consumer watchdog website has noticed an uptick in the number of con artists posing as Publisher's Clearing House, the sweepstakes company known for its Prize Patrol and oversized facsimile checks.
"In the last couple of years, we have seen a huge increase in the number of scams that are using our Publishers Clearing House name, either alone or in combination with other well known brands, like Reader's Digest and Oprah Winfrey," Christopher Irving, an assistant vice president at Publishers Clearing House, told ConsumerAffairs.com.?
Based in Port Washington, the company operates a sweepstakes program through direct mail and online; and it sells steeply discounted magazine subscriptions. Increasingly, it also produces online games for other companies' marketing campaigns.
"Irving said today's scammers go to great lengths to make it appear they are part of Publishers Clearing House," ConsumerAffairs.com reports. "They misappropriate the PCH logo, have been known to use the names of actual employees in their communications with victims, and have even mimicked the company's voice-mail tree."
The key, Irving tells the website, is to never send money to anyone claiming to represent Publishers Clearing House. Also, the sweepstakes company will never contact consumers by phone, but instead will send a certified letter or just show up with the Prize Patrol and a huge facsimile check.