5 Ways to Tell If A Winning Email is a Scam

I get a lot of emails and some of them are outright scams. If you aren’t careful you will fall into believing the scams because frankly, some of them look very real. Here are just some of the ways you can tell if a winning email is a scam.

scam alert


If the email comes from the UK or Africa you can almost be 100% sure it is a scam. Think to yourself, did I enter something from the UK or Africa or some other country (other than Canada)? Most likely, no. All of the sweepstakes I enter originate from the United States. I don’t even enter any from Canada I don’t believe so anything coming from outside of these 2 countries is going to be shady.


If an winning email asks you for money that is a huge red flag. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER send money to get a legitimate prize. You may have to pay taxes on a sweepstakes win but it will after you get the prize and it will be because you claimed the value of that prize on your taxes. For larger prizes you will get a 1099 from the company at the end of the year, most likely before April of the next year, and that is what you claim on your taxes.

how to tell if a winning email is a scam


If an email asks you for your Social Security number or bank account number it is most likely a scam. That doesn’t mean you won’t have to give out your SSN but it is usually when you have to get an official affidavit notarized. And then it is in front of a witness (the notary). You usually write it on your paperwork and then get it notarized. Your SSN is used to verify who you are and allows the company giving out the prize to send you the 1099 and it most likely allows them to claim the prize expense on their taxes, showing that you were the person who received the prize.


Did the email address you personally by your name or does it say Dear Winner, Hello There, or something similar. If you get a winning email from a legitimate sweepstakes it will usually have your name in it because they will know your name because you had to give it when you enter.

how to tell if a winning email is a scam


Where is the email from? If it is from a personal email it could be a scam. It might not be a scam but in the example below, the person sending the winning notification says they are from Team Chevy but they are using a gala.net email. If it is truly from Chevy it will most likely come from a @chevy.com email or a PR company representing Chevy or a company like ePrize

how to tell if a winning email is a scam

Other things to watch out for:

Some words to watch out for in the email are CLAIM and AWARD. You aren’t claiming a sweepstakes prize when they notify you by email and you didn’t win an award. A real sweepstakes winning email notification will tell you what you won or give you a way to find out so there is nothing to claim. There might be paperwork to fill out but that is different than claiming your prize.

The dollar value isn’t in US dollars but some other currency.

Looking out for these signs will help you stay safe when entering sweepstakes. We all want to win but you never want to get scammed.

Disclosure: this sweepstakes listing may contain an affiliate or tracking link but we do not use referral links. Read about our policies for more details.

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  1. Jocelyn Dorsey says

    This is great information! Thanks for posting it.

  2. Jessica Marinaccio says

    great info

  3. Great info! I actually got a scam email the other day and asked my hubby what he thought. He told me to google the company, and sure enough it came up as a scam. 🙁 So try that too people! 🙂

  4. Christina V says

    I get emails sometimes from “windows live team” for hotmail claiming that they are re-doing accounts and that they need my password, name, and other personal info otherwsie my account will “be deleted”. DONT FALL FOR IT! Windows Live (Hotmail) would NEVER ask you for your password, user name and info.

    I’ve also seen ones where they claim someone left me X amount of $ in their will and to send them my bank info, ect to claim it. FAKE OF COURSE.

    Thanks Wendy for the info. Be careful everyone. <3

  5. Annie Mack says

    Never click on a link in an e-mail unless you are absolutely sure it is from a legitimate agency. Most affidavits come as attachments in either word or .pdf format and the email contains enough information for you to know it’s legit.

  6. Great post! Good rule of thumb is if you didn’t enter a particular contest, you didn’t win anything. I doubt companies and/or lotteries go around randomly finding people online to give money away.

  7. speaking about scams…Yesterday I got a crazy letter that I am a winner of MalaMalaysian National Sweeptakes. He-he…:))) Below is the beginning of the letter.
    “Malaysian National Sweeptakes Compensation Award 2011
    Selangor Turb Club (Lottery and Sports Center)
    Jalan Kuda Emas, 57100 Kuala Lumpur
    Ref: ECB/06654 $2.5Million Dollars

    REF/PAYMENTS CODE: ECB/06654 $2.5Million Dollars.

    On behalf of the Malaysian National Sweeptakes Compensation Award,wishes
    to inform you the results of the E-mail address ballot lottery
    international program by the Malaysian lotto Board held this Month,notify
    you as a beneficiary of $2.5Million Dollars in compensation of scam
    victims. This is to bring to your notice that we are delegated from the
    Malaysian National Sweeptakes Compensation Award in World Bank to pay 150
    victims of scam $2.5Million Dollars each. You are listed and approved
    for this payment as one of the scammed victims to be paid this amount”.
    It’s just ridiculous!

  8. Very good points in the article. I have received some of those emails stating that I won the lottery or some sweepstakes. Luckily, those emails go to the spam mailbox.

  9. Richard Van Pelt says

    I have noticed something ALL scam e-mails have in common;
    None ever have an unsubscribe tab.

  10. That’s true like if you subcribed to some plale why wouldn’t you have the unsubcribe buttun

  11. Has anyone actually gotten a notice via email that they had won? All of
    my winnings had come in the mail. Just wondering

  12. Your info is an eye opener. It will help many people to detect lottery and sweepstake scams.
    There are lots of merchandise and services(i.e. distance learning, casting spells etc) on the internet, how can one verify their authenticity?

    • Yes, it appears to be legitimate but it is located in the UK so you might not be able to participate. It is no, however, a sweepstakes.

  13. Do you ever get notified by text?

  14. Lynn Cutler says

    it is all about common sense, i delete theses stupid things instantly, never open them at all!!!!!!

  15. Sandy Cain says

    Not a sweep, but similar:
    Attn: Beneficiary,

    I wish to inform you that the Diplomatic Agent conveying the consignment box
    valued the sum of $18.2Million United States Dollars misplaced your delivery
    address and he is currently stranded at SAN MARCOS International Airport TEXAS.

    We required you to reconfirm the following information as stated below for
    safe delivery to you.

    Full Name:——
    Residential Address:—-
    Direct Phone No:—
    Nearest Airport:—-
    Id Attachment:——–

    Contact the Diplomatic Agent MR.JAMES ZINCHIN E-mail him with the information
    at:= E-mail( [email protected] ) He is waiting to hear from you
    today with the information at the Airport NB: The Diplomatic Agent does not
    know that the content of the consignment box is $18.2 Millions United States
    Dollars and on no circumstances should you let him know the content.


    Robert Anderson.
    The Director of FedEx Courier Company Lagos Nigeria.

    Oh, those zany Nigerians! LOL!

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