While sweepstakes and contests are ways businesses and companies promote various things, it is easy to lose sight of red flags when an unexpected prize is promised. It is important to keep in mind that things are not always as they seem. Most of the time, if something seems too good to be true, it is!
Continue reading to explore what is expected of real contests and prizes and how to spot scams along the way!
Below are a few ways to tell you’re dealing with a scam.
1. You must pay to get your “prize.”
If someone ever asks you to pay a fee or pay for shipping, you are likely dealing with a scammer! True sweepstakes are completely free to recipients, meaning that you should not be asked for payment information or personal financial information by any contest promoter or company. If you are asked to give financial or payment information, it is best to end the conversation and reach out to the company directly to speak with a representative to confirm details of the contest or sweepstakes. Keep in mind that scammers are often persistent and adamant about what they are asking you to do. Always make sure you are proceeding with caution in any phone or digital conversation.
2. They say paying increases your odds of winning.
Real sweepstakes are free and decided completely by chance. If a contest promoter or company urges you to pay to increase your odds of winning, it is likely a scam. Contest promoters and companies legally are not able to accept money to increase odds or give anyone an edge in contests or sweepstakes.
3. The person communicating is not upfront with credentials or titles. Or, the communication does not come from an email or phone number associated with a reputable company.
If anyone who reaches out claiming you have won a sweepstakes or contest is not willing to detail their role with a company or organization, they are likely a scammer. Scammers do this to affiliate themselves with a well-known company to convince others that they are legitimate. Often, communication from scammers come from an email that is not truly connected to a company network and will misspell or rearrange words or letters in the name of the company or organization. If you receive an email from someone claiming that you are a winner that seems to be from a reputable company, always research the company contact page and reach out to another representative for further clarification.
While there are many red flags when it comes to sweepstakes or contest scams, the biggest one is requesting any type of financial information or payment. Anytime you are asked for financial information, whether it be debit/credit card information, bank account information, or gift card information, you should stop in your tracks and proceed with caution. Always remember, it is better to be safe rather than sorry - especially when it comes to sensitive, personal information!
You always have the right to ask questions, stop the conversation, research further details, and stop communication altogether. If you begin to feel pressured to answer someone’s questions, you can always stop the conversation or ask to continue it at another time. It is always a good idea to approach conversations over the phone and online with caution since you’re never quite sure who is on the other end of the line.
As you keep these insights in mind, remember that Spero Financial is here to help you! If you have questions or concerns about a financial experience, give our Member Solutions Center a call or visit one of our branches today!
This material is for educational purposes only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.