Live 5 Scambusters: Scam callers are pretending to be Publishers Clearing House, promising fake winnings

VIDEO: Live 5 Scambusters: Charleston woman almost fell for Publishers Clearing House scam promising fake winnings

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Publishers Clearing House gives away between $3 million and $13 million every year. Scam artists are using the company name to take your money.

A Charleston woman got a phone call, claiming she’d won a large sweepstakes. The call was too good to be true.

Mildred Hudson says the caller claimed to be from Publisher’s Clearing House. He told her she’d won $2.5 million and he was ready to deliver the check and a new Mercedes in the color of her choice. All he needed from her was $499.83.

“He said we paid all the big taxes but this is the small fee,” Hudson said.

Hudson recognized the red flag of a scam, but decided to string the caller along. She asked him to deduct the fees from her winnings, but the caller claimed that was not an option. He also told her to keep the prize confidential, but Hudson had another idea.

“If I’m winning $2.5 million I need to notify my financial planner so we can start making plans to look out for my best interests,” Hudson said.

The scam caller tried to convince Hudson to come up with a smaller amount of money to pay and insisted he would be delivering her prize that day. Hudson informed the caller she’d meet him with her lawyers and two South Carolina Law Enforcement officers. She also mentioned she’s a retired warden with the Department of Corrections. At that point, the call ended.

Publishers Clearing House has a warning about scam calls like this online. If you get a call like this, ignore it and report it to PCH. You can also report it to the FTC here.

If you have a scam story to share, email Kyle Jordan at

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