Contest Questions: How to Tell if a Contest Is Legit or a Scam

Look Out For These Major Warning Signs From Sweepstakes Scams

Contest Questions: How to Tell if a Contest Is Legit or a Scam

Is this contest real or a scam?

The Internet and the world of social media is a great place for you to connect with different brands. You have the chance of engaging in fun giveaways and contests in order to receive cool prizes.

However, some giveaways might seem too good to be true. Perhaps the steps to participate are too easy. Maybe the company itself seems like a bit of a sham. In those scenarios, it’s best to avoid them to avoid sweepstakes scams.

See below for several ways on how to avoid sweepstakes scams and tools that you can use to ensure you’re engaging with credible brands who are running the contests for the right reasons.

1. Find a Reputable & Legit Source

What if there was a place that you could go to find fun social media contests from legitimate companies? Rather than risk running into a scam online, you could use that site as your guide for which giveaways to spend your time and effort on.

Fortunately, those types of sites actually exist! In fact, you are looking at one! 😉

On we share daily new giveaways and read the rules for you to save time, but also pre-screen sweepstakes for our readers, you can read more about our publishing guidelines at About Us here

You can use Contest Scoop to find reputable giveaways with awesome prizes. It will list the details of the contest and the prizes that you can win as a result.

This can also point you to different places for contests such as blogs, different social media outlets (such as Facebook, Instagram, etc.), or websites.

Now, rather than risk running into a scam on your own, you can use our site, Contest Scoop as your guide. That way, you can have peace of mind while you engage in various contests across the internet. You will be glad you did!

2.Never Pay to Play – Avoid Giving Credit Card Info

Everyone gets excited when receiving a message saying they have won a prize! But, wait if the message reads your item will be shipped after paying a “small” fee for shipping and handling! Don’t get it twisted, because you should never have to pay to receive the prize from a contest. 

Many giveaway scams make millions of dollars each year by simply fooling participants into paying to participate or redeem the prize that they’ve “won”. After you do that, there’s no hope of getting your money back.

If the contest is legitimate and user-friendly, it will ask for different ways for you to participate instead of paying. For example, they might ask you to share their page, re-post their content, refer your friends to them, and so on.

It doesn’t matter what the “company” is asking you to pay for, don’t ever give them your credit card information. They might try to tell you that you only need to pay for shipping fees, sweepstakes taxes, or so on.

For our readers who live in the US, you pay your sweepstakes taxes directly to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). So if a company is trying to tell you that you pay it through them, it’s an obvious attempt at a scam.

3. Red Flag – You’ve Never Heard of the Company

There are many different ways that sweepstakes scams will try to get in touch with you to try and trick you. This could be through email, cold phone calls, or even DM-ing you through your social media accounts.

If you’ve never heard of the company that claims you’ve won a prize, then ignore the message and report it to the social media site.

In Canada, you may also want to visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre which lists some recent scams and frauds. A similar site in the US to browse would be the site.

For those of you that participate in a lot of contests, be sure to keep a list in a notebook of all the different sweepstakes you engage in. That way, if you don’t find the contest on your list, you’ll know that it’s a scammer attempting to get your information.

how to avoid internet fraud and scams

4. Watch Out For Free Email Accounts

This part can be tricky because there are times in which a small business will use free email accounts (such as Yahoo and Gmail) to save money.

So you could very well receive an email from a small business’s Google account alerting you that you’ve won the prize from a legitimate contest. Make sure to scan the email’s headline, email address, name, and template for signs of any common scamming. 

If the sender claims to be from a well-known company such as Wal-Mart, Patagonia, or Nike but is using a free email account, then it’s a clear sign of a scam. 

Scammers also like to tweak the email address ever so slightly to fool you into thinking it’s the real thing.

For example, say you get an email from someone that’s claiming to be associated with Contest Scoop. Their email address might look legit until you realize that the email address actually reads “[email protected]”. Did you notice the difference there?

The scammer added an “s” at the end hoping that you wouldn’t catch it. While it might seem like a feeble attempt, many people fall victim to this tactic each year.

5. Scammers Will Pressure You to Act Fast

Yes, timing is of the essence when redeeming a prize from a contest you’ve won. But a legitimate company will never demand that you respond quickly with the information they require.

If you aren’t fast enough to respond, then a legitimate contest runner will simply move on to the next person on their list of eligible winners. They won’t be so fixated on you that they try and rush you to get the information they need.

Any time that a sweepstake is claiming you’ve won a prize and is pressuring you to give them the information they need, take it as a telltale sign that they’re up to no good. Cut off all communication with them as soon as possible.

Avoid Sweepstakes Scams With These Valuable Tips

Now that you have seen several key indicators that you’re dealing with sweepstakes scams, be sure to use them to your benefit.

Be sure to visit this page to learn more about the different sweepstakes and giveaways that are going on both in Canada and the United States.

For more inquiries, please be sure to reach out via our contact us page and we will be happy to assist you further.