AG's office warns consumers of sweepstakes scam

By Chris Dickerson | Feb 8, 2017

CHARLESTON —West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office is warning consumers to be wary when notified of winning a sweepstakes bearing the name of a legitimate company, such as those perpetuated by impostors falsely claiming to represent Publishers Clearing House.

These scams often look to steal money or personal information, according to the AG's office.

“It’s a welcome surprise to unexpectedly win something, especially millions of dollars,” Morrisey said in a statement. “It’s crucial that consumers don’t let the excitement overshadow caution and smart thinking.”

Morrisey said his office's Consumer Protection Division routinely hears of this scam circulating in West Virginia. The scammers use a familiar name to lull consumers into a false sense of trust and unquestioned acceptance.

Although Publishers Clearing House does award prizes, there are some things to look for to verify the legitimacy of any win.

Their sweepstakes are free to enter and winners never pay to receive their prize. Consumers should never agree to send cash, wire money or provide account numbers associated with a credit/debit card or bank account in order to claim a prize.

Publishers Clearing House representatives also never will call winners or ask for personal information. They instead notify winners in-person or via certified mail.

Anyone with questions or concerns is asked to call the Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Division at 800-368-8808 or visit

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