How to Stay Safe and Spot a Scam in the World of Online Competitions
Entering online competitions is a lot of fun, but you still need to take precautions to protect yourself from fake competitions and scams. Sadly, they do exist, if you’ve been a competition addict for a while you’ll develop an eye for picking out the fake or scammy websites. Some competitions are still legitimate but you’ll want to stay away from them as you’ll end up receiving an obscene number of phone calls every day. Ugh!
Here are some tips to help keep you safe!
LOOK FOR TERMS AND CONDITIONS
A business, legally, must have a set of terms and conditions attached to their competition. Always look for these and read them thoroughly. If there doesn’t appear to be any, consider giving it a miss.
IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS
You’ve all seen those classic pop-ups on websites that state “Congratulations! You’re our 1 millionth visitor! Click here to claim $10,000!” Yeh, don’t. Just…don’t. Get out of there quick smart!
BE WARY OF FAKE BUSINESSES ON FACEBOOK
This one has caught out quite a few. Scam artists are posing as large, well known businesses and offering fake prizes. I know for example, Jetstar has had this issue before. One way to work out if it is the actual business’s page or not is to check how many people have liked the page. Usually big companies will have thousands, even tens of thousands of likes. Most of the fake pages will have much lower numbers.
BAD GRAMMAR AND SPELLING
Most moderate to large sized businesses set up their competitions through a dedicated promotions manager or team. Generally speaking, these people have a decent grasp of the English language. If a competition has a lot of spelling or grammatical errors, it may be hurriedly set up by a scam artist or an overseas fraudster.
DON’T GIVE OUT BANK DETAILS ETC
If a competition asks you for anything like bank details, credit card details (perhaps a social security number if you’re in the USA), this is a massive red flag. Never enter these!
CHECK EMAILS FOR DODGY ADDRESSES
Received a winning email? Double check the sender’s email address, most times it should relate to the business that held the competition. For example, it might look like… email@example.com – which is a good sign. If it looks like firstname.lastname@example.org, you’ll certainly want to question the authenticity of the competition.
GO WITH YOUR GUT
If something about a competition just doesn’t feel right (and many a comper or sweeper will tell you that they develop a sixth sense for this), don’t risk it – skip it. There are thousands of other competitions to enter!
If you’re ever unsure and would like some advice, you’re always welcome to contact me and I’ll take a look!