Publishers Clearing House wants to warn you about scam artists sending out real looking checks in an attempt to get you to send money!
Here’s how the “Fake Check” scam works. Scam artists send you an official looking letter claiming to be from a legitimate sweepstakes. The letter may illegally use the name of a well known company like Publishers Clearing House or a sound alike name in an attempt to build trust. (These offers are not affiliated in any way with Publishers Clearing House!) The letter encloses a real looking check that may appear legitimate. Even your bank may be fooled. What’s the catch? Even though the check is bogus, if you deposit the check the money may be available to you for a short time. Under federal law, banks make the funds you deposit available quickly – usually within one to five days, depending on the type of check. But just because you can withdraw the money doesn’t mean the check is good. It can take weeks for the forgery to be discovered and the check to bounce. And that’s what the scam artists are counting on. They hope that if you believe the check is real you’ll be willing to send them money back.The scammers may tell you that you were given “an advance on a sweepstakes prize” and that some “fee, tax or additional payment” is necessary. You may be told you are being paid the “first installment” on millions and that “you will receive more after wiring a portion back.” Whatever the set-up in the scam offers, the results are the same. If you send money back you’ll be out twice. YOU are responsible for checks or monies deposited into your account. When a check or money order bounces YOU will owe the bank the money you withdrew and the scammer will have the additional money sent in his/her pocket! A legitimate sweepstakes will NEVER ask you to send money to enter a sweepstakes, claim a prize, or to pay a fee, tax or deposit. Consumers should always remember that at Publishers Clearing House no payment is ever necessary to claim a prize. If someone contacts you about winning a prize and requests that you send money back in return for any reason – STOP – you have not heard from the real Publishers Clearing House. There is no legitimate reason for someone who is giving you money to ask you to wire money back. This is not the way legitimate sweepstakes work!If you believe you are the victim of a “Fake Check Scam” using the Publishers Clearing House name or logo, please contact us immediately by calling our toll free number at 1-800-392-4190. Consumers are also advised to contact their local consumer protection officials or the National Fraud Center at www.fraud.org. No matter whether mail, phone or email, remember NO PURCHASE NECESSARY…The only sweepstakes rule you need to know!