Pepsi Billion Dollar Sweepstakes logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
You can find sweepstakes just about anywhere. They’re on the Internet, cereal boxes, and television. You’ll find them in your email inbox, the newspaper, and your mailbox. Sweepstakes give you the chance to enter a contest for a variety of prizes, including cash. Not all sweepstakes, however, offer legitimate opportunities. That means you need to know how to tell the difference between a real sweepstakes and a scam.
Legitimate Sweepstakes Do Not Require Payment or Purchase
Before signing up for a sweepstakes, look at it carefully to determine whether you have to send money or make a purchase to qualify. If you do, then you’re probably looking at a scam. A lot of scam sweepstakes ask you to make a payment to receive your prize. They might say that it’s for processing or delivery. Remember that legitimate sweepstakes never require payment or purchase. In fact, most of them clearly tell potential entrants that they don’t have to buy anything to qualify. If the sweepstakes wants your money, stay away.
Does the Sweepstakes Urge You to “Act Now”?
Daily sweepstakes winners know that the process has a rather laissez-faire attitude. Companies hosting sweepstakes want you to participate, but they don’t care so much that they need to make you feel nervous about missing your chance. They just state the deadline and tell you how to enter. The rest is up to you.
Scams, however, often insist that you enter as soon as possible so that you don’t miss your chance at the big prize! They might also ask for personal information, such as your social security number or credit card number. These scams use urgency to distract you from the little voice in your head that tells you to never give out personal information to unknown organizations. They hope that they can make you feel so stressed that you’ll give them the information that they want. Don’t fall for it.
The World is Full of Scams
Treat every sweepstakes as if it might be a scam. That way, you will only enter the ones that pass your strict test. Searching the Internet for more information about the sweepstakes could give you some good information to help you determine whether you want to sign up. If you see a lot of sites and forum posts saying that the sweepstakes is a scam, then stay away from it.
You can also contact organizations to help you determine whether you’re looking at a scam or a legitimate offer. The Better Business Bureau, Ripoff Report, and other monitoring organizations have more information on professional services that will help you avoid scams.
Remember, when in doubt, assume the sweepstakes is a scam, even if it has a prize that you really want. That way, you never take an unnecessary risk. If it’s a scam, you’re not getting that prize anyway.