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How Can I Tell If A Sweepstakes Is A Scam?

There are a wide variety of legitimate sweeps offered by real companies with solid reputations. But like anything else out there, the potential of scammers to use the allure of a prize-winning sweepstakes to rip you off, is also real. So, how can you tell the difference between a real sweepstakes contest and a site that’s just trying to get your personal information for marketing purposes like spam or, worse yet, identity theft?

First, know this - people really do win sweepstakes!

At the same time, unfortunately, the best defense is a good offense. Don’t be so ready to enter a Sweeps before doing a little research into it. One place to start is to look for reviews on a specific contest site. The internet is a great tool that can provide you with the experiences others have had with a particular sweepstakes, good or bad. Look to see if they announce winners. That’s usually a tell-tale sign that they’re for real. Usually, they’ll even tell you where the winners are from (city and state).

Next, check to see if the sweeps site has company contact info and where they are located. Also, legitimate sweeps sites will usually only require your email address to enter their contests – which should be free with no strings attached. Equally as important, does the sweepstakes site you’re on have a privacy policy? If so, then do yourself a favor and read it through. Authentic sweepstakes websites will let you know how they use and store the information you’ve provided. The privacy policy should also state if your information is shared with other companies, or affiliates, and how or why they might use it in the future. Sweeps are supposed to be fun. You don’t expect, want or need and endless barrage of spam calls and emails because you wanted to win something. It takes the fun right out of it. You also don’t want the same onslaught from the site itself, so make sure you know what you’re agreeing to before you agree to it.

Real sweepstakes contests should have an easy to find list of the sweepstakes rules, which should be clearly stated on the website. These rules can be anywhere from a few lines to a few pages, but be sure to read and understand them. Authentic sweepstakes contests must follow the basic laws that govern all contests and giveaways. These include making it clear that you have not won before you enter (as in, you are being given chances to win), not charging a fee to enter (except in the case of some creative contests), and by having a free method of entry.

A few tell-tale signs that a sweepstakes site is not legitimate is if they ask for a proof of purchase without an alternate free entry method, charging an entry fee, and promising you better chances to win if you make a purchase or take some other action under the threat of missing out. Beware of counterfeit websites. They’re designed to look like the real thing and do nothing more than take your vital information for nefarious purposes.

Okay, that’s enough of that because most sweepstakes contests are legitimate, and people really do win some awesome stuff. People have won everything from large cash prizes to cars and houses, vacations or memberships, gift cards, computers and so on. Scammers try to worm their way in everywhere, but don’t let that spoil the fun. Just make sure you’ve done your due diligence and be certain that a contest is legit. And enjoy Sweeps4All.


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