Would you like to win a million dollars? Of course you would! Just about everyone has hoped that by some miracle they would be chosen by Publishers Clearing House as a grand prize winner. Very few will ever be so lucky, but you may be unlucky enough to be scammed by someone posing as Publishers Clearing House. This scam has recently received attention in the news, and more and more people are reporting incidents of fraudulant calls and emails claiming they are "big winners".

Here is how to know if you're a victim:

If you receive a phone call that is supposedly from Publishers Clearing house claiming that you've won - it's a scam. Publishers Clearing house does not call the winners, ever. These phony callers will ask for all of your personal information- name, address, date of birth, phone number, age, nationality, and bank account info. If you give it to them thinking it will result in a pay-out for you... you're wrong!

These callers may also ask you to pay various fees to claim your winnings- processing fees, insurance fees, etc. that could amount to $1000 or more. The real Publishers Clearing House does not require you to pay any sort of fee to collect your money. In fact, most real winners have not even purchased anything from the mail order and magazine subscription company.

If you are told that you are the "second prize winner", it's a scam. Publishers Clearing House only has "first prize winners" - there is no such thing as second prize.

For any prize over $10,000 you will know if you've really won, because the Prize Patrol will show up at your door, complete with a camera crew, flowers and a big huge check. Unless this happens.... you aren't a winner.

For prizes less than $10,000 Publishers Clearing House will mail to winners. The prize will be sent Registered Mail, and will be postmarked from Port Washington, N.Y., where the company is based. Anything else that turns up in your mailbox should be seen as "too good to be true".

If you have any doubts, you are urged to call Publishers Clearing House. Their operators can assist you in letting you know if you've really won big, or if someone is trying to rip you off.

The toll-free number is 800-645-9242 and the line is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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