BBB Business Review
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Several Central Ohio consumers have advised our office that they received a letter from a company calling itself "Publishers Clearing House" which included a "check to cover any outstanding fees that have not been paid by PCH directly". Consumers are advised that while the check looks real, it's not. Do not deposit it. No one in our BBB files has ever won a prize which required them to wire money overseas to get it. Yet we're receiving more calls every day from people saying they've gotten a check proving they are winners. Here's the scam: You get a fake check and deposit it into your personal bank account. Then you make a withdrawal and wire the cash to Canada or overseas to pay the prize fees. It will be weeks before your bank learns the check is fraudulent. And when they do, they will come back on you. This is because you were in a better position than they were to know whether it was safe to cash the check. According to the American Bankers Association when a bank teller says "a check has cleared", it only means the hold time is over and you have access to the funds. It does not mean the check is "good". Bottom line, you will owe the bank for the money withdrawn against the fake check. The wiring service will not issue you a refund even in these situations. If you have received such a check you may also wish to contact the: National Fraud Information Center at www.fraud.org or call 1-800-876-7060 U.S. Secret Service, Financial Crimes Div., 1800 G St. NW, Room 942, Washington D.C., 20223 Many companies operating check overpayment schemes use well-known company names and false addresses in their advertisements and promotions, in order to mislead consumers into believing they are dealing with an established business.
This business is not BBB accredited.
Businesses are under no obligation to seek BBB accreditation, and some businesses are not accredited because they have not sought BBB accreditation.
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It has come to our attention that this firm is claiming on its letters to be affiliated with the Better Business Bureau, which is not true. This firm has no affiliation with our BBB, and we consider the statement to be misleading and deceptive. Misuse of the BBB name and logo may also constitute infringement and violation of these federally registered trademarks.
Reason for Rating
BBB rating is based on 16 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.
Factors that lowered the rating for Publishers Clearing House Fake Check with Letter from Imposter include:
- BBB concerns with the industry in which this business operates
- BBB does not have sufficient background information on this business
Industry Ratings Comparison
Customer Complaints Summary Read complaint details
|Complaint Type||Total Closed Complaints|
|Problems with Product/Service||1|
|Total Closed Complaints||5|
Additional Complaint Information
The name Publishers Clearing House is being used in an advance fee loan scam. Since our file opened on October 8, 2008, our BBB serving Central Ohio has received complaints against this company from consumers living in Central Ohio who were lead to believe that by wiring money in advance to the Dominican Republic they would receive a grand sweepstakes prize from Publishers Clearing House. No consumer received the promised prize money. No consumer has recovered the money they wired. If you believe you are a victim of this scam, please file a complaint online with BBB at www.bbb.org. Please also file a complaint online with The Internet Crime Complaint Center at http://www.ic3.gov/complaint. The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C). IC3's mission is to receive, develop, and refer criminal complaints, concerning Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) matters, Computer Intrusions (hacking), Economic Espionage (Theft of Trade Secrets), Online Extortion, International Money Laundering, Identity Theft, and a growing list of Internet facilitated crimes. Because we have a low number of complaints on file does not mean it is safe to deposit the check. We may not have any complaints or few complaints on file because prize scams come and go very quickly by changing business names, addresses and phone numbers; victims may be too embarrassed to complain; it takes time for victims to realize they are not getting a prize; and the scheme may be structured to convince the victim the problem is their own. Consumers who wired money to Canada may also wish to contact Project Phonebusters by calling toll-free at 1-888-495-8501.
Customer Reviews Summary Read customer reviews
|Customer Experience||Total Customer Reviews|
|Total Customer Reviews||0|
Business ManagementElizabeth Roderiguez Paul Acosta, Agent Mr. Bob Alsan, Account Representative Mr. Harvey Armstrong, Internal Revenue Agent Mr. James Brown, Agent Mr. Mark Brown, Agent Mr. Peter Brown, Chief Financial Officer Mr. Jack Brunson, North American Claims Agent Mr. Kevin Casey, Representative Mr. Bob Crawford, Winners Selection Commission Mr. Mike Gates Andrew Goldberg, President and CEO of Publishers Clearing House Mr. Andrew Goldberg Mrs. Katherine Hill, Representative Ms. Jennifer Laundon, Claim Manager Mr. Larry Miller, Representative Mr. Edward Phillips, "Internal Revenue Agent" Mr. Arthur Pierce, "Internal Revenue Agent" Mr. Raymond Pierce, Director of Claims Ms. Samantha W. Ramsey, Agent Mr. Edward B. Rust Ms. Cathy Stewart, Chief Financial Officer Rebecca Stone, Account Representative
Advance Fee Brokers Prize Promotions
The US Expedited Funds and Availability Act is one way banks can hold their customers responsible for fake check scams. When a consumer deposits a check into their bank account, the bank is actually "fronting" the money until the bank collects the funds from the issuer of the check. This is a system that is upheld by both the trust of the consumer and the bank in which both parties believe the check deposited is genuine. This law limits the time period a bank can "hold" a check that is written for less than $5,000. Money deposited from cashier checks, money orders and government checks must be available to consumers by the next business day. Money deposited from corporate or personal checks cannot be held for more than five days. Consumers are advised to be aware even when funds from these types of checks are "made available," it does not mean the check deposited has actually cleared the bank NO MATTER WHAT a teller or bank declares to you. Collecting funds from the check issuer can take 10 days or longer. Fake check schemes that transfer funds by wire also link such victims to other types of scams. These fraudulent activities include lotteries, sweepstakes, and overcharges from online auctions, sales and deception through the internet including employment and dating websites. Most of these scams originate in Africa, East Asia, and Eastern Europe. Consumers of all ages should take precautions to protect themselves. Senior citizens should take even more care.