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Posted in Online Savvy | January 2014

Online security: contests and sweepstakes

It can be fun, easy and fast to enter contests and sweepstakes online, especially since usually all you have to do to enter is type and click. It’s a lot quicker than buying a stamp and walking to the mailbox, that’s for sure! But like any online activity, it’s important to be aware of the risks. Knowledge is power, as they say, and it can help protect you from becoming a victim of fraud or identity theft.

According to Contests & Sweepstakes, there are some simple ways to determine whether or not a sweepstakes is legitimate:

  1. Is there a privacy policy? They should tell you very clearly how they’re going to use the information that they collect from you, and specify how it is stored, if it will be shared, and how it might be used in the future.
  2. Are there rules? A legitimate sweepstakes site will always have clear, easy-to-find rules.
  3. Does it follow basic sweepstakes laws? Signs that a site is not legitimate include requiring some sort of purchase without an alternate entry method, charging an entry fee, or promising that your odds of winning will improve if you make a purchase.
  4. Are they asking you too much? It’s standard for legitimate sweepstakes to ask for your name, address, date of birth, email address and telephone number. But they should never ask for any financial information such as credit card number, bank account number or social security number in order to win.
  5. Who is running the show? Legitimate companies run sweepstakes for promotional purposes. Be very wary if you can’t figure out who the contest sponsor is, or what they’re trying to promote.
  6. Can you get to the sweepstakes page from the sponsor’s home page? Make sure that a sweepstakes originates from the sponsor’s official web page. If it doesn’t, it’s possible that a scammer stole the color scheme, style and logo of a real company and made a fake page designed to steal your personal information.
  7. Does it feel right? Sometimes you just have to trust your gut. If it’s telling you there’s something fishy going on, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Move along and find another online contest to enter.

For more warning signs that a sweepstakes could be a scam, visit Contests & Sweepstakes and Visit Contest Girl for advice and tips on safely entering online contests from someone who spends up to an hour a day entering contests online.

While you’re in online contest mode, don’t forget to check out our list of 2013 Foresters promotion winners! Everyone who signed up at during our specific promotion periods during 2013 could have entered to win fabulous prizes!

410563 CAN/US (04/15)


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