Publishers Clearing House is starting 2018 with several new contests, and you may soon see TV ads for their latest jackpot prize.
Unfortunately, scammers know that, too, and are using their latest contests to target the older people who enter to win.
Letter claims she is the big winner
We all secretly dream of the PCH Prize Patrol showing up at our door. Ellen Olsen did too.
So she was stunned when she received a letter and $5,000 check from Publishers Clearing House.
"When this check came and the Publishers Clearing House letter came with it, I thought, 'Well maybe it is legitimate,'" she said.
The letter stated she was the winner of PCH's $2.5 million grand prize -- even though a winner had not been announced yet.
The $5,000 check accompanying it was to cover taxes and fees, according to the letter.
But something wasn't right, her daughter BethAnn said.
"They told her to cash the check, and the other thing that was mentioned was don't tell anybody," she said.
Don't tell anyone? It sounded fishy.
What she did next is what you or your older parents need to do if a call or letter claims you are a winner: check the Publishers Clearing House blog , and type in the word "scam." You'll find all the warning signs that you are about to be taken.
Unfortunately, at this time you cannot just go to PCH.com and find scam warnings. They are only accessible on the PCH blog right now.
"I googled Publishers Clearing House to see how they notify big winners, and they say they just come to the door, and never tell you in advance," she said.
Good thing she checked.
Warning signs of a scam
- PCH says it will never call or email in advance to say you are going to be a winner.
- They will never tell you to be home at a certain time (they will drive all around town looking for you).
- They will never ask you to pay anything in advance to collect your prize.
- They will never send an advance check of a few thousand dollars to cover "taxes" or "fees."
That $5,000 check? It's fake.
"It's terrible, the greed is just so bad now," she said.
If you have older parents or grandparents who enter the PCH contests, you may want to warn them about this, so you don't waste your money.
“Don't Waste Your Money” is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. (“Scripps”).
Follow John on Twitter ( @JohnMatarese )
For more consumer news and money saving advice, go to www.dontwasteyourmoney.com