How to Avoid Fake Prize Notifications That Claim You Are a Winner!
Have you ever wondered if the winner notification in your inbox is real or fake?
Lately, I have seen some major Canadian Companies and Brands warning their fans and customers via email and newsletters to vary of contest scams.
There are scammers that pretend to be a Brand and are falsely notifying people that they are winners of a certain prize! When receiving the winner’s notification there are the following scams to be avoided.
Verify Real Prizes – Ignore Fake Prizes
The first scam is easy to spot and it’s the contests you have never entered. If you receive an email claiming that you are the lucky winner of a brand new
iPad, TV or any other contest prize you are sure you did not enter for, you can be certain that it is fake. After all, you cannot win a contest you have never entered. What to do: Simply ignore the email and block the sender from your inbox.
Now, let’s assume you actually entered a contest let’s say from Amazon or Walmart, then we can move on to the next points
How to Spot a Spam Winning Notification
For many Canadians who love entering giveaways, there is nothing more exciting of course than receiving the long-awaited “Congratulations, you are a WINNER Message! Before you start celebrating your win though, take a pause and question if the winner notification is indeed for real. Below we have compiled various tips for you on how to tell if you are being scammed!
Thankfully you can easily spot many fake winning notifications at first glance. Just take a look at a recent one I received. My mail service had already identified this as a scam and I found it in my spam folder. This is such an obvious fake, that no second look is necessary. For one, this scammer couldn’t even get the spelling right. Look how they spelled the word “Congratulaions”. (see image below)
The second flag is that no sender is specified. A legitimate winning notification would be identifiable by having the Companies name visible in the sender’s address.
Let’s pretend the spelling was correct and a Companie’s name was visible, then your next step would be to verify the actual email address this was sent from. For this simply click on the sender (title) to highlight the sender’s email address.
In my example, I saw the following email as pictured below. It’s very obvious this doesn’t come from any know or reputable Company!
So into the junk folder, it goes.
Here is another tip. You should always send these notifications to the junk mail, rather than simply deleting them.
Marking a spam notification as JUNK will help the algorithm of your email provider and they might automatically place them into the junk mail, therefore keeping your “real” inbox free of more notifications of the same kind!
Spam Reward Notification – Asking To Claim Your Reward
Another recent email I received lately, informed me that this was the Final Notice Coming for a [Dyson Vacuum] Reward. (see below)
This is the second type of scam that informs you about a reward that can be claimed immediately upon completing of action, usually a survey!
The content of the email informed me that I was chosen to receive a free Dyson Vacuum by completing the short survey. And who wouldn’t be excited to win a Dyson vacuum cleaner? the most popular brand of vacuum cleaners! The email then goes on to say “It will only take you a minute to receive the prize”! If only things were that easy.
In taking a closer look at the email, the letter claimed to be from Walmart ( as seen in the image above?. Since many of us may have signed up for Walmart emails, or have a Walmart credit card, it is natural to expect to see notifications from Walmart Canada in the inbox and that is what scammers are counting on. They know some people will not question the intention and be eager to click on the link to “claim their prize.!
Here is how you can tell that this is another scam, trying to either “get your email, personal information and possibly your credit card number.
In this example of Reward Notification Fraud, you can spot several red flags and dead giveaways that this is a fake reward.
The first thing you should do is hover your cursor over the sender’s name. You don’t have to click anything in it’s completely safe to just have the sender’s email highlighted within your inbox. Immediately you can see that this email is coming from [email protected]. There is your dead giveaway.
Any legitimate letter from Walmart Canada would have been ending with ….walmart.ca, as in the example below.
The email below it authentic, coming from Walmart Canada. The sender’s email is seen as [email protected]
Report Fraud prize notices
The easiest thing to do with spam winner notifications is of course to “junk them”
But did you know that it is illegal to send deceptive prize notices? According to the Competition Act,
it is a criminal offence for anyone to send you a prize notice that requires you to pay before you can collect your winnings. The bottom line: If you’re told you’ve won a prize, you shouldn’t have to pay.
If found guilty, fraudsters could face fines or jail time.
Conclusion – Check Credentials & Spot a Fake Prize Website
In conclusion to this article, every time you receive an email stating that you have won a prize or reward, take a pause and look carefully at the letter BEFORE clicking on any links or images.
Ask yourself the questions: Did I enter this contest? Do I know the sponsor?
Does the email address match the Sender, meaning when you check for the detail in the email address can you confirm that it is coming from an official account of the Company or Brand it is claiming to be.
If you can answer these questions you will be able to avoid fraud and fake winner notifications in the future.
Furthermore, if you are new to entering contests, you can start by reading our article on How to tell if a contest is legit or fake
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