The majority of instant win cash sweepstakes and competitions provide participants with a valid opportunity to win fantastic prizes. However, there are a few fake sweepstakes and contents out there that will draw you in with the promise of winning.
To avoid being a victim of a fraud, it is critical to recognize the signs of online sweepstakes. These scams are detrimental not only to the participants, but also to the sweepstakes’ owners. It has the potential to tarnish their brand’s image. Sweepstakes scams usually convince people that they are winners when, in fact, they are not.
More than 4,400 sweepstakes and lottery scams have already been registered to the BBB Scam Tracker since 2020. We’ve looked at a few different methods that scammers use to trick people into entering sweepstakes. Read them to avoid being a victim of a sweepstakes scam.
1. Identifying and avoiding scams from the outset
Protecting your personal details is one of the most important ways to reduce your chances of falling victim to a sweepstakes scam. Scammers usually obtain your email address through illegitimately published lists, internet searches, and a variety of other methods. You may, however, avoid this by taking a proactive first step. Use a sweepstakes-specific email address.
Several sweepstakes that allow you to enter multiple times require you to create a username and password in order to speed up the process. Using the same password for other websites, particularly those with sensitive information such as your online banking services, is a huge mistake. Your confidential credentials would almost definitely be in the hands of fraudsters if the site is hacked.
2. Keep your personal information private.
To protect your privacy when joining sweepstakes, you must be highly cautious. It is possible to reduce the amount of unnecessary ads you get as a result of joining sweepstakes. If you regularly receive unwanted emails from sweepstakes, for example, make sure to unsubscribe. This should be done on a regular basis to ensure that determining the true win indications is easy.
Telephone protection, in addition to email, should not be overlooked. You could get a few marketing calls asking you to join sweepstakes. It’s a good idea to keep your phone number private and not give it to someone you don’t trust.
3. Never pay money to claim a prize: Reputable sweepstakes or competitions will never ask you to pay money to claim a prize.
Make sure you never give money to pay for lottery or bonus winnings payments or taxes. Legal sweepstakes don’t usually ask for money or ask you to buy anything in exchange for joining or increasing your chances of winning. In addition, they would not require you to pay taxes or transaction fees in order to award you prizes.
The scam sweepstakes, for example, sent out mailers informing people that they had earned $1 million or more. Furthermore, they charge a small fee for winning the prize.
4. Do not call an illegitimate sweepstakes phone number.
If you haven’t checked the validity of a given phone number for sweepstakes or contest information, don’t call it. It’s important to double-check the legitimacy of an online search. Remember to stop calling any numbers with a 900 area code because they will cost you a lot of money every minute. Some phoney sweepstakes phone numbers will connect you to a phone number with the aforementioned area code.
5. Fake Check Scam: 90% of users fall for this.
The scammer sends you a check-in email with instructions to move money to the sweepstakes (based on a name of winner confirmation). Such checks should be avoided because they are fraudulent. You may pay small fees to the con artist, but you will be charged with fraud for cashing fraudulent checks. Depositing such checks will result in a hefty fine from the bank, as well as the closing of your account. Before withdrawing cash from the bank, take your time and do some research. Don’t be hasty and first of all, verify the name of the corresponding company or those sweepstakes. Make sure not to take out or deliver funds from a check in your bank account till it is not formally cleared.
Before submitting any reward worth more than $600, a legitimate sweepstakes sponsor would demand affidavits.
6. Be careful of social media sweepstakes scams.
Sweepstakes are most often advertised on social media. Additionally, it is the new target for sweepstakes scammers. For scammers, it is not tough to make a fake Facebook page that pretends to be a well-known company, TV series, etc. Some people may mistakenly like that fake Facebook page. Consequently, it becomes easy for sweepstake scammers to persuade you easily that you have won a prize. Especially on Twitter, it can be tough to differentiate between genuine and fake wins. If you suspect any fake page then stay away from it.
7. Avoid foreign sweepstakes
Be extremely wary of international contests that claim that the fees are vital because of international law. Moreover, stay away from playing the foreign lottery because it is illegal.
8. Don’t feel pressured
Feeling pressured and making an instant decision for entering a contest or sweepstake leads to problems later on. Also, don’t feel pressured when making a purchase or giving a donation.