Is Publishers Clearing House a Scam
Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

You’ve probably seen the commercials on television: "You could win $1,000 a day for life!"

The promise is usually accompanied with footage of happy people holding large checks. Others, like this New York woman, are speechless. 

The commercials, of course, are for the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes. The commercials show excited winners, but when’s the last time someone you know won the sweepstakes? Probably never. Is Publishers Clearing House a scam, or do people really win?

 

How the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes works

Is Publishers Clearing House a scam? To answer that, you first have to understand how it works.

The official Publishers Clearing House rules say you don’t have to buy anything to win. The company used to send out mailers with various instructions on how to enter, but these days it seems to be be mostly online.

To enter the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes, you have to submit entries into the sweepstakes via their various forms, including PCHSearch & Win, PCHFrontpage, PCHlotto, online games and more. You can enter up to once daily and the odds of winning depend on how many entries they receive up until the deadline.

Publishers Clearing House form

If it sounds confusing, it is.

With all the ways to enter, it seems like entering the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes could easily turn into a full-time job — one entry on a whim probably isn’t going to cut it.

How does the Publishers Clearing House pick their winners?

According to the Publishers Clearing House website, winners are picked at random and made "under the supervision of the PCH Board of Judges." They’re picked in two ways: Via a random drawing and by watching a winning number.

And people do win, according to the list of recent winners. Most of these prizes are smaller than the big grand-prize drawings, but are still a big chunk of change. Some winners get $10,000, while others get prizes of $50,000, $6,000, $40,000 and more.

Is Publishers Clearing House a Scam?

Is Publishers Clearing House a Scam? Not any more than the lottery is, it seems.

The company did settle with 26 states back in 2014 due to deceptive marketing. The $34-million payout was a result of mailers that told recipients they were "guaranteed" winners of money. PCH agreed to tone down the language that sounded like a scam, because no one is guaranteed to win money — or anything — with the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes.

That said, there are scam artists that take advantage of PCH drawings to dupe people out of cash. In 2017, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission posted an advisory that warned people about paying money to callers or emailers posing as Publishers Clearing House.

So, is Publishers Clearing House a scam? No. It seems like you could win, but the chances are very slim — and it’s probably easier to win the Powerball than it is the PCH Sweepstakes. Regardless, the next Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes ends August 31 and someone has to win. Why shouldn’t it be you?

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