Odds are you did not win $600,000 or whatever the letter you received claims. Instead, it’s likely a scam.
An El Campo resident came to the Leader-News office Tuesday with a $12,697.50 check and a letter from what purported to be Publisher’s Clearing House.
The letter claimed he had won $600,000 and the check was to help him with “out of pocket expenses” while claiming the remainder of the prize. It urged him to contact a claim agent, take the check and “keep this award letter strictly confidential.”
That’s not how Publisher’s Clearing House works.
They really do show up at doors with checks, balloons and a camera to surprise their big winners.
“A scam is a situation where you were contacted by someone claiming to represent Publishers Clearing House, or claiming to be a PCH employee and were asked to send or wire money, send a pre-paid gift card or a Green Dot MoneyPak card, or cash a check and send a portion back to them as payment for any reason to claim a sweepstakes prize,” according to the PCH website.
The company urges anyone who has encountered such material to fill out a scam report with them.
“These scammers are using any means available: mail, telephone, email, even Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to carry out their scams. Whatever method they use to contact you, their main goal is to deceive you into thinking they are the real Publishers Clearing House, but they are NOT! The real Publishers Clearing House would NEVER ask you for money for any reason to claim a sweepstakes prize award,” according to the PCH Consumer Service page.
A PCH spokesman did not return a Leader-News phone call by press time Tuesday.
Scams can be reported to the El Campo Police Department at 979-543-5311.
Phone numbers in letter type scams, officials warn, are typically disconnected immediately after the first call is made.
The check likely isn’t something you can bank on either.
For more information on a suspected scam involving a well known company, reach out to the company directly. Do not use any phone numbers or addresses on the letter your received or were provided by phone.
Often, officials say, when it seems to good to be true, it probably is.