FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 10, 2009
SCAMMERS POSE AS PUBLISHERS CLEARING HOUSE
PCH Winners Beware
If you’ve received a random lottery winning notice and fake check in the mail with instructions to send money to someone else—don’t!
The Northeast California BBB has received complaints from local victims against a company who is scamming victims using fake checks.
The company, alleging to be Publishers Clearing House, sends a check between $5,800-$7,300 to consumers, with an explanation that the funds are for second or third place lottery winnings which total $1,000,000. The victim is told to call a phone number and then told to deposit the check and wire money to Canada. The checks are fake, they bounce, and leave the victim responsible for the funds they withdrew from their account.
“The new year will bring more and more bogus schemes particularly those offering money,” said BBB President Barry Goggin. “Don’t let your wishful thinking overcome your good sense.”
If you receive a legitimate check from Publishers Clearing House, it will be certified, sent by express letter, or given in person. The BBB advises winners to look for inconsistencies on the checks. After reviewing multiple fake checks from the company alleging to be PCH, the BBB found many type-os. Another inconsistency the BBB found was that although the winnings came from PCH, the scammers listed a completely random and different company in the upper left hand corner as the issuer of the checks.
After speaking with the companies in the upper left hand corners, the BBB was told that the routing number and company information on the checks were actually legitimate and were used without their permission. The companies were forced to close their accounts.
Publishers Clearing House has issued a warning on their website stating that “if you are contacted by someone who says you won a prize, but in order to claim it you must drive somewhere, pay a shipping, handling, or delivery fee, prepay taxes, pay a deposit, give a credit card number, call a 900 number, or purchase a product with a “discount voucher”, it is NOT affiliated in any way with the real Publishers Clearing House.”
Do not divulge personal information to anyone who solicits it over the phone. Before making any purchase, always be sure to obtain a BBB report as part of your decision making process. For reports on businesses and for information about BBB services, visit our website at www.bbb.org or call (916) 443-6843.