Is Publishers Clearing House a Scam? – Publishers Clearing House Review

The Publishers Clearing House has been around for more than 50 years and it has managed to become a billion dollar company, inspiring generations of dreamers. If your door bell is ringing, it could be your neighboor wanting to have some chat with you. But it could be also representatives from Publishers Clearing House bringing you the dizzying news if you’ve played with them. How this company is making money, can you make money with them, or Is Publishers Clearing House a Scam?

In this post, I’ll answer these questions, along with a few more regarding Publishers Clearing House.

Without further ado, let’s get started right now!

Publishers Clearing House OverviewIs Publishers Clearing House a Scam? - The Logo

Full Name: Publishers Clearing House (PCH)

Type: Direct Marketing Company


Founder: Harold Mertz

Year of Establishment: 1953

Price to Join: Free

Recommended? No

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What is Publishers Clearing House?Is Publishers Clearing House a Scam? - The Logo 2

With its headquarters in Jericho, New York, United States, Publishers Clearing House is a direct marketing company that sells merchandise and magazine subscriptions with sweepstakes and prize-based games.

The company was founded in 1953 with the purpose to replace door-to-door magazine subscription sales by a single vendor offering multiple subscriptions by mail.

Back then, the company only sold magazines subscriptions. It became a pioneer in direct mail.

Publishers Clearing House introduced its first sweepstakes in 1967, as a way to entice people to buy even more subscriptions.

Today, the company is still thriving, bringing in $1 billion in 2017, and having approximately 15 millions of registered users.

However, it’s also known for lots of giveaways and paying millions to settle lawsuits.

Who is the Founder?Is Publishers Clearing House a Scam? - The Founder

Publishers Clearing House was founded by Harold Mertz, a former manager of a door-to-door sales team for magazine subscriptions.

For the first few years, he managed the company from the basement of his home in Port Washington, together with his daughter Joyce, and first wife, LuEsther.

What are Publishers Clearing House Products?

Publishers Clearing House uses mail and online sweepstakes promotions in the sale of magazine subscriptions.

In addition to those, Publishers Clearing House has thousands of items of merchandise for sell.

These days, the company makes most of its money from direct mail offerings for household items, personal care products, entertainment, collectibles, and food items.

That merchandise, including magazine subscriptions, subsidizes huge cash giveaways — or, it may be the other way around.

How Much Does it Cost to Join Publishers Clearing House?

Publishers Clearing House is not available in my area. When I tried to check out their website, here’s what I’ve got:


Is Publishers Clearing House a Scam? - Geographic Limitations


However, based on my research, the company clearly states that “At PCH, the winning is always free and you NEVER have to pay to claim a prize”.

Therefore, participation in PCH sweepstakes shouldn’t cost you any money.

At the same time, there are people claiming that they had to purchase items from PCH’s website in order to proceed with participation in the contests and sweepstakes:


Is Publishers Clearing House a Scam? - Buy Items to Participate


So, it turns to be not for free, you have to pay money for some of their products, so that you can be eligible to participate in their sweepstakes, promotions and contests.

How much should you spend? Well, that’s kind of up to your choice but what I’ve found that, again, people are saying that items sold on PCH’s website are overpriced:


Is Publishers Clearing House a Scam? - Overpriced Merchandise

How to Make Money With Publishers Clearing House?

There are many different ways you can make money with Publishers Clearing House. I’ll list them below as follows:

#1. Enter their Giveaways and Sweepstakes Through Mail or Online. 

Their official website is, where you’ll find information about fighting sweepstakes, magazine subscriptions, unsubscribing from mailings, and customer service.

Also, you’ll find find the entry forms for their multi-million dollar sweepstakes, which you can enter without having to deal with physical mail.

But entering PCH’s sweepstakes online also has its own disadvantages and it helps to be aware of those. When you enter online like that, you’ll receive many, many offers you’ll have to click through.

Also, chances are that your email will be invaded with lots of offers and stuff being promoted to you. That’s why, if you’re ok with that, be sure to use a dedicated sweepstakes email to reduce the risk of unwanted emails arriving in your regular email account.

#2. Win the PCH SuperPrize and More Through PCH Search & Win

If you browse the internet a lot looking for various information, you could win prizes at the same time, if you use PCH Search and Win.

All you need to do here is to register, and every time you enter a search term into the search bar on the website, you could win prizes. These vary from smaller prizes like gift cards to major, multi-million dollar giveaways.

If you wonder if this is really possible and had anybody win money this way, you may wish to read the story of Natalie Bostelman, who won a million dollar in 2008.

#3. Play and Win with PCH Games

If you are one of those people who enjoy playing online games, you can now get paid for what you love to do the most. Or if you just want to relax or kill the time, why not making some extra bucks at the same time?

With PCH games, you have the chance to play such games as Mahjongg Dimensions, Spider Solitaire, or Video Poker, and earn tokens while the game.

These tokens you can redeem for entry into giveaways to win prizes like gift cards worth between $50 and $500 or drawings to win even more tokens.

Bear in mind though that the site is ad-driven. You often need to wait for ads to display before playing the games.

#4. Guess the Right Numbers and Win with PCH Lotto

PCH Lotto gives you the chance to play lottery without having to pay for the chance to win. All you need to do here is to pick numbers for five different lotto giveaways.

Like in the PCH Games, between each card, you’ll see ads. That’s because this is how PCH Lottery is making its revenue.

Be prepared to go through a bunch of ads, or how they call it, partner offers, after you’ve filled your five lotto cards. You can sign up for them or just skip them.

Once all that is done, you’ll get a chance to win instantly with a scratch-off style instant game.

#5. Publishers Clearing House’s Facebook Contests / PCH Share and Win

Who nowadays doesn’t have a Facebook account? Even Publishers Clearing House has its own Facebook page where you can an find additional chances to win.

In oder to participate in the PCH’s Facebook contests, you’ll need to first of all, become a fan of PCH on Facebook and, to see the current entries, you’ll need to click on the “Boxes” tab.

Besides that, you can make use of PCH Facebook widgets which can help you win even more. One of these widgets is called PCH Share and Win, where you can spin to win instant prizes.

If you put the widget on your own Facebook page, you then get even more chances to win.

#6. Browse News and Win with PCH FrontPage

Here, you can get paid for searching topics that interest you. PCH FrontPage gives you  the top news headlines in one easy location.

For completing such easy tasks like reading news articles, watching videos, checking the latest lottery results, or consulting your horoscope as well as for searching the net, you’ll gather tokens.

You can then exchange the tokens for chances to win from Publishers Clearing House.

#7. Gamble (Without Risk) and Win Millions at PCH Slots

Like with the PCH Lotto, with PCH Slots you can play slot machines without losing money. Thus, play for free and you could win tokens that you can use to enter various giveaways.

The more you play, the more drawings you can enter to win.

Besides that, while playing PCH Slots you are automatically entered to win the PCH Superprize Drawing worth millions of dollars.

Is Publishers Clearing House Legitimate?

Here is the good news: Publishers Clearing House is a legitimate company.

They have different ways in which they are making money to fund their giveaways and there were some instances of people winning the big money with them.

However, I’d like to warn you that there are PCH imposter scams who are sending prize notifications claiming to come from PCH.

Here is just one case that came to attention of the public through media:



These scammers counterfeit PCH letters to trick people out of money, using the real PCH logos and employee names, but they don’t really come from PCH.

Here are a few recommendations to spot these scams. First of all, pay attention to the header of email you receive. Here are a few of the email subject lines that tricked people:

  • Deposit of (Recipient’s name) Prize Number Must Be Accepted! 
  • Payment Transfer Notice Alert – Authorized
  • (Recipient) will Become the Immediate Owner
  • Office Of the Controller: Funds Authorized For Release On 10/13
  • Less Than 5% of Our Members Will Receive This (Recipient) 

If you’ve received an email with these subject lines, don’t hurry to get excited and don’t do thoughless actions based on your emotions.

Next, ask yourself a few questions, like: Do you remember you’ve enter this giveaway?

Is the sender asking for money, a credit card number, or a bank account number?

These things should make you caucious. Don’t send money or information to anyone because if you are dealing with PCH, you don’t have to pay anything in order to claim your prize.

Does the prize have a high value? PCH doesn’t contact winners of prizes worth more than a couple of hundred dollars by email or by telephone.

They appear in person at your door with a Prize Patrol or send a certified letter.

If you still have doubts, Publishers Clearing House has a toll-free number that you can call to verify any letter you receive from them.

Here’s the number you can call: 1-877-3SWEEPS (1-877-379-3377) Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM to check if you’ve really won.

Otherwise, if you’ve received a sweepstakes spam phone call claiming to be from PCH, make sure you hang up immediately and report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission.

Can You Make Money With Publishers Clearing House?

The bad news however, is that it’s extremely difficult to make money with PCH.

Their giveaways are so famous, a lot of people enter them, and therefore, the odds of winning are exceptionally long.

As of June 2020, according to the official rules, the odds of winning “$5,000 a Week for Life” in Giveaway 16000 are 1 in 6.2 billion.

To put that in perspective the world’s population is 7.7 billion.

However, they also have sweepstakes that are not so popular but the amount of money you can win in these sweepstakes is usually low.

The Good and The Bad


#1. PCH Donates to Charity

More than 40% of the company’s profits go to various organizations in the forms of charity, which is always a good thing.

Through the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, PCH helps support organizations like the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the New York Botanical Garden, and The Audubon Society.

The company also gives directly to other charities, perhaps most famously known is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Only in 2019, social media charitable giving campaign brought PCH’s cumulative annual donations to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to over $1,000,000.

#2. No Need to Pay for the Right to Win

Unlike a regular lottery, at PCH, you don’t need to pay money for the right to win.

However, according to stories I have red online, you still may need to purchase merchandise to proceed with your participation in the sweepstakes and giveaways.

#3. Make Money by Completing Some Easy Tasks

It’s not a rocket science to participate in PCH’s sweepstakes, contests and promotions.

Anyone can complete the tasks on their official website and other online properties they have.


#1. Overpriced Merchandise

Some people have reported that the merchandise PCH is selling on their official website is overpriced.

#2. Low Chance to Win Big Money

There are literally a few people who have won the big prize at PCH. For example, in 2018, an elderly Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, woman won PCH’s $5,000 A Week “Forever” Prize.

But far more people end up feeling disappointed and tricked by reading too much into PCH’s well-written “You may be a winner” headers on its correspondence.

#3. Numerous Lawsuits Around PCH

By the 90’s, PCH got in trouble.

Numerous states sued the company, alleging deceptive practices that made customers think that the more magazines and other products they bought, the better their chances would be of winning the big money.


My Final Opinion About Publisher Clearing House + A Better Alternative

I think that they’ve nailed it in the way they approach consumers, may show people that other people who won with PCH look just like them, feel like them, and it could be them.

And they show them getting this big huge check, and I think this make other people kind of think: well, if it happened to them, it can happen to me.

The emotion and joy that people showcase when they are surprised that they win, is really kind of infectious.

Of course, it’s ok to enter those sweepstakes but don’t expect too much from them so that you’ll not get disappointed afterwards.

I’m not a fan of get-rich-quick schemes and I can’t recommend you to rely on this method of making money.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article and now, you’ve got your answer to the question: Is Publishers Cleaning House a Scam?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject, or if you have any questions, please leave a comment and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Best Wishes,


Publishers Clearing House









  • PCH Donates to Charity
  • No Need to Pay for the Right to Win
  • Make Money by Completing Some Easy Tasks


  • Overpriced Merchandise
  • Low Chance to Win Big Money
  • Numerous Lawsuits Around PCH

2 thoughts on “Is Publishers Clearing House a Scam? – Publishers Clearing House Review”

  1. A really good thorough review of PCH, I had actually never heard of them but as you mentioned they are not available in all areas.
    I think you are right to for warn people about companies like this, although they are genuine the chances of actually making any money are so low and you may even get scammed by other companies mis rep representing them.
    Great advice to avoid.

  2. Thanks for such a thorough review for this program.
    I do not like programs whereby you will be paying a lot for the merchandise especially if there are lower chances of success.


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