Publishers Clearing House occasionally sends out postcards to promote its sweepstakes. Here’s how you can tell if a postcard is from PCH and not a scammer.

Who wouldn’t want to win thousands or even millions of dollars in cash? This dream has kept the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes popular for decades.

But it also made PCH a a popular target for scammers trying to deceive the victims. Several readers recently asked to VERIFY if they received genuine activation code postcards from PCH in the mail.


Does Publishers Clearing House send postcards with activation codes?



Yes, Publishers Clearing House sends postcards with activation codes. The cards contain codes to enter the raffle, not to collect money already won.


A spokesperson for Publishers Clearing House told VERIFY that PCH occasionally sends out promotional postcards with a code on its website that people can enter to win a cash prize.

The spokesperson attached an example of a copy of the postcards that PCH recently sent out. It includes a five-digit activation code that must be entered in the PCH URL.

These postcards are not new. PCH wrote 37 blog posts on its website to announce that it is sending activation code postcards. Everyone version of this postcard usually looks similar and always tells people to follow the link or enter the five-digit code shown on the card. PCH also posted a message about these postcards on its Facebook page in the past.

PCH’s postcards do not tell consumers that they must send money to PCH to claim prizes, nor do they tell consumers that they have already won a prize. Consumers who received a valid PCH card must still enter the contest locked with the activation code to be eligible for any prizes. No PCH activation code postcard has ever directed consumers to websites other than PCH’s own site.

“If it’s not free, it’s not from a real Publishers Clearing House,” the spokesman said. “If a card, letter, email or contact form claims to be from PCH but requires money to be sent to claim the prize, DO NOT REGISTER. At PCH, winnings are always free!”

This is because it is illegal to ask people to pay or buy anything to enter a draw or increase your chances of winning a prize. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says. So if you are asked to pay money at any point, it is a scam.

The FTC also states that there is no reason to disclose your bank account or credit card number in order to receive a prize or sweepstakes. So, when you enter your activation code and see that you need to enter sensitive financial information, close the window. This is a scam.

“PCH will only ask for information to confirm your eligibility and to notify you when you are a winner: date of birth, name, address and email.” — US Postal Inspection Service says. “No other information is needed.”

A spokesperson for PCH told VERIFY that consumers can always contact PCH itself to confirm that they received a valid sweepstakes from PCH.

“If consumers have any questions about the authenticity of the raffle promotion they received, they can contact PCH to confirm by visiting us online at call our toll-free line at (800)-645-9242.”

More from VERIFY: Yes, the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes is real, but there are scammers out there who want to take advantage

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