We all want to win! So when you see an online competition with a prize that you wouldn’t mind winning, make sure you are being online savvy! It’s important to be aware of the risks, especially the legitimacy of the competition. Knowledge is power, as they say, and it can help protect you from becoming a victim of fraud or identity theft.
According to MoneySavingExpert.com, there are some simple ways to determine whether or not a competition is legitimate and advice you can follow:
1 - Do they outline why and who is collecting your data?
The organisation running the competition 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 with a third-party, and how it might be used in the future.
2 - Are there rules?
A legitimate competition or prize will always have clear, easy-to-find rules and have a set of terms and conditions to read.
3 - Does it follow basic competition laws?
Signs that a site is not legitimate include requiring some sort of purchase without an alternate entry method, charging an entry fee, or the company informing you you’re a winner but asking for money before claiming the prize. Some sites may even promise that your odds of winning will improve if you make a purchase from them.
4 - Are they asking you too much?
It’s standard for legitimate competitions and prize draws to ask for your name, address, date of birth, email address and telephone number. However, they should never ask for any financial information such as your debit or credit card number or account number in order to enter - be safe and know this information should not be requested for entering a competition.
5 - Who is running the show?
Legitimate companies run sweepstakes for promotional purposes. Be very wary if you can’t figure out who the organiser is, or what they’re trying to promote. You can check the Companies House website to see if they're a registered company operating in the UK.
6 - 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 competition to enter.
For more information on what to look out for when entering competitions online, read this article by BT.