Contests & Sweepstakes FAQ

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    What is the difference between contests and sweepstakes? Which is right for me?

    Contests draw a winner based on merit or skill (the best video, the cutest photo,etc.) , whereas sweepstakes draw a winner based on a lottery and are random in nature.

    I live in _________, why can’t I enter some contests or sweepstakes?

    Chances are your country/State has incredibly strict or special laws regarding sweepstakes and contests. That’s the easy answer. The hard answer is that it’s very complicated and involves lots of legal language that may exclude you based on geographical location.

    Doing business with a company (including sweepstakes) and you provide them with a phone number, you are authorizing them to contact you. They are not breaking the law by calling you after you’ve done business with them even if you are on the Do Not Call list. Be careful what information you provide, check and make sure they are a legitimate company.

    No real contest or sweepstakes prize company will ever ask you for money to redeem a prize. nor will they call you asking for your credit card or banking information. They usually will contact you through U.S. Mail on how to redeem and claim any winnings. If you are unsure, google the company for it’s contact info, Don’t always rely on links in email. be suspicious if winnings come as a partial-payment check, with instructions to send back a portion. The check that you’re told to deposit (used to pay the required fees) is counterfeit. Although the deposit may immediately show up in your account, it can take up to two weeks for your bank to discover a fake check. If the check proves fake (and it always does), you’ll lose all money drawn from its deposit — including the forwarded amount, likely thousands of dollars for “big” jackpots — and will likely have to repay your bank.

    If entry forms or congratulations letters are mailed bulk rate, assume it’s a scam. Bulk-rate postages mean oodles of others got the same notice — so figure needle-in-haystack odds for entering, and there’s no prize if you’re told you have already won. Besides the postmark, other red flags include patriotic images (American flags, eagles) and a “Don’t tamper with under federal penalty” notice, to suggest these letters are from the U.S. Postal Service. All are purposely used by scammers to trick government-trusting older recipients, who fall for sweepstakes scams three times as often as younger folks.

    Some fraudulent contests go even further, according to FTC, using official-sounding names such as the nonexistent “National Sweepstakes Bureau” or claiming the contest is held by (or at least overseen by) a federal agency. Notices from Publishers Clearing House or Reader’s Digest, which run legitimate sweepstakes, can be vetted by contacting the company or its website.

    Good rule of thumb on if it is real contest/sweeps email or phishing attempt;
    A rule of thumb:

    • Do they tell me the name of the sweeps?
    • Did I enter this sweeps?
    • Is the email address consistent with the sponsor/promo?
    • Is the prize I “won” listed as a prize if it was a sweeps I entered?

    It’s a scam contest if any of the following legally required info is missing in print material:

    • Start and end dates;
    • Judging date;
    • Methods of entry, including judging criteria;
    • Type of proof of purchase required;
    • Description of prizes and approximate retail values;
      legal disclaimers; and sponsor’s name and address.

    Telemarketers are legally required to tell you the odds of winning, the nature or value of the prizes, that entering is free, and the terms and conditions to redeem a prize, according to the FTC. Sweepstakes mailings also reveal that you don’t have to pay to participate and can’t claim that you’re a winner unless you’ve actually won a prize. Never provide personal information such as a driver’s license, passport number or bank account information. Legit contests will request only your name, address or phone number.

    Please Comment and leave your own tips, comments, or advice, The best advice is from someone with knowledge.

  • 5K Club

    Uhh, what am I suppose to read?

  • 1000 Club

    @mrsguin Hi MsGuin, I’ve added some information now.


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