Scams occur in all walks of life and sadly scams have become more prevalent in the comping world. Bogus emails, oversea lottery wins, fake Facebook pages, and promoters running dodgy competitions are just some of the examples that you'll need to keep an eye out for. The good thing about the comping community - both here, on other sites and social media - is that many people are now net savvy and quick to highlight potential problems. This however doesn't stop people falling victim to prize draw and competition scams.
If It Sounds Too Good To Be True
The phrase "if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is" is incredibly important. For example you might see a post on Facebook that suggests a major brand has 50 or 100 cars to be won. How many brands would giveaway 50 cars on Facebook? The problem with these kind of scams is that everyone thinks they aren't real but will enter "just in case". Ignore your FOMO and ignore these competition. Our blog on how to spot fake facebook competitions explains things in more detail.
Scam Winning Messages
More recently scammers have been targeting compers direct through DMs (direct message) on Facebook and Instagram. They contact people saying they're winners of competitions they've entered on the platforms. However the messages tend to come from fake accounts designed to look like the actual brand. Winners excited at potentially getting a prize then send their details. This sometimes includes a credit card number which obviously is a scam. No promoter should ever ask for money from you to claim a prize. If you've received a winning DM and aren't sure then is your facebook winning message a scam from our blog may assist.
Unclaimed Prize Registry
Before social media scams the main things compers had to watch out for were letters from The Prize Directory or Unclaimed Prize Registry. These letters will suggest you're a winner and encourage you to phone a premium rate number to find out the prize you've won. The aim of these calls is to keep you on the phone whilst the cost ratches up. Our advice is to avoid any competitions, wordsearch puzzles as you sometimes see on TV, bogus lotteries that require you to phone a premium rate number. Winning letters should tell you the prize you've won - you shouldn't have to phone a premium rate number!
Anyone can set up a competition or prize draw but sadly not everyone will run them properly. Over the years we've seen promoters pick friends as winners, not send out prizes and completely ignore CAP guidelines. Spotting a dodgy competition isn't easy as usually the dodginess occurs once everyone has entered. However the too good to be true mantra is useful to remember. It's also worth keeping tabs on competition groups, including Loquax, for any background on sites that aren't ponying up with the prizes.
Lead Generation Sites
Sometimes you may come across competitions run by the likes of MyOffers, Nectar Contests, Active You and Product Testing. They offer big prizes such as cars, holidays and tech. As is they aren't scams but at the same time they aren't great competitions either. These sites are there to collect your details and sell it on. Competition sites that promote these kind of offers are earning per lead when you register. We don't include these competitions on Loquax! It's up to you whether you enter them or not but just be wary that they're more about getting your data rather than being worthy promotions to particpate in.
2020 was the year when raffle sites mushroomed across the internet. A raffle site is one which charges you to enter a prize draw and has limited tickets. Prices vary as do the prizes on offer. Not all raffle sites are scams but it is an area of comping that requires caution. These sites are not regulated (and in our view they should be) so you may be giving money to a company which may not deliver on it's promise. There are some well established raffle sites but be sensible when using them. Raffles that are run on Facebook pages are actually illegal but we do see people running them too. Our advice there is avoid.
Spotting A Scam
If you're unsure about a competition or have received a winning notification that perhaps asks you to pay out money then do check it out first. For example you could Google for answers, post on the Loquax Forums for help and advice or check with comping friends for their opinion. If you have any doubts whatsoever then check. A genuine company will be happy to communicate with you and answer any questions. They will also want to keep you safe so won't push you for credit card details or information.
- If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is!
- Ask yourself: "How can I win a lottery prize if I've never purchased a ticket?"
- Try not to respond to a bogus promotion
- Avoid dialling premium rate phone numbers
- Never give your credit card details to claim a prize
- Never spend money to claim a prize
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