I have had a few people either email me or question whether a sweepstakes was valid to enter from a link on my site. A couple of people have actually said they are now getting lots of junk mail, phone calls, and even money taken out of their bank account because of a sweepstakes they entered. And, in some cases those sweepstakes were found through my site.
I really don’t want to see any of your taken for a ride so I will give you some helpful tips for things to watch out for.
While many of the sweepstakes that are generated by these ads ARE legitimate there may be some that are not. I cannot check out each one because they change all of the time. I have found some great sweepstakes through ads because many companies use these ads to promote their sweepstakes so don’t count them out just yet.
You will find similar privacy policies on other sites and even on TV shows. It is up to you to be alert and responsible for what you do once you leave my site and other sites through a link you found on any site.
In my daily posts I only list legitimate sweepstakes and provide you with the link to the official rules so you can check them out for yourself. A legitimate sweepstakes will usually not require a purchase but there are exceptions. A legitimate sweepstakes will usually have a sponsor, maybe a judging agency, and tell you what they do with your information.
To protect yourself from a scam sweepstakes you should be an informed person who reads what is put in front of you and if you do not understand something you read then email someone who can help. As I have mentioned before, if you ever question whether a sweepstakes is a scam or not then don’t enter it and move onto the next one. There are literally thousands upon thousands of legitimate sweepstakes going on at all times so don’t spend much time on a site if you get that gut feeling that it is “too good to be true”. Don’t let those flashing lights and the big words – WIN $50,000 – or something similar blind you to the facts.
Facts you should know to protect yourself from scams
I wrote about this topic indepth in this article entitled, 8 Ways to Tell if a Sweepstakes is Legitimate, to but I want to just cover a couple of key points.
Does the sweepstakes have official rules?
If so, did you read them before entering? I NEVER, let me say that again, NEVER, enter a sweepstakes if I haven’t read the rules first. Those few extra minutes it takes me to scan the official rules for key components protects me from scams.
I do NOT get spam, junk mail, unwanted phone calls or money taken from my bank or credit cards because of sweepstakes I enter because I read the rules to protect myself and you should too.
What will that sweepstakes do with your information?
Read that article above to find out about privacy policies and some examples of what companies do with your information. Do they protect your information (name, address, phone, email, etc) or do they sell it. They should disclose that information in the official rules or somewhere else on their site.
Here is an example of a sweepstakes that shares your personal information with other companies. Because of the legal jargon it is hard to understand what they are saying but they are basically saying that by entering the sweepstakes you give them permission to share your information with other companies for just about any reason.
XXX may provide your Information to trusted third parties, including but not limited to selected third party marketers and vendors as well as third party contractors providing services to XXX for the operation of the Site and its business, communication services and fulfillment of orders. XXX will use commercially reasonable efforts to limit use of the Information by such third parties to the specific uses set forth above.
Usually they will also sa that you can opt out of these lists if you write to them and then they provide their mailing address. They have legally done everything they are supposed to because they told you about it in the official rules but DID YOU READ IT?
Every wonder if the Publisher’s Clearinghouse is a valid sweepstakes?
Yes it is – mainly because years ago they were sued because of false advertising and basically tricking people into believing they had won when they had not.
But, what does Publisher’s Clearinghouse do with your information? Check this out in their official rules:
Publishers Clearing House may pass your name and address to other reputable organizations. As a result, you may be contacted with other suitable offers and promotions. If you do not wish to receive any offers from other organizations, please let us know by calling the number or writing to us at the address below.
Once again, they told you they were going to share your information but you probably didn’t read the official rules.
If I teach you only one thing on this site it is to READ THE OFFICIAL RULES and you will be an informed person who NEVER gets taken in by any form of scam or trickery relating to sweepstakes or anything else that comes along in a pretty package. If you do not read what is clearly written there for you to read then you WILL get taken – guaranteed!