If you’re new to the world of comping, or even if you’re not, it may not have occurred to you that not all competitions are real. Why would anyone go to the bother of setting up a fake or spam competition you may wonder? The truth is that, as for other types of scam, all too often the goal is to get hold of your personal data. And with a recent rise in online scams, its more important than ever to be aware.
So, should this put you off from entering competitions? The short answer, is no, it shouldn’t. Entering competitions can be a very enjoyable and rewarding, pastime. But if you fall into the trap of entering a scam competition you could receive enough nuisance calls and emails to put you off ever entering a competition again.
Read our short guide to how to spot a scam/spam competition below. Then you will be aware of what to look for and can proceed in comfort.
Generally, there is no reason whatsoever to be wary of online competitions. The vast majority of competitions now are online, and most will be legitimate. There are a few steps you can take to check whether a competition is legitimate or not.
1. Register with and use a dedicated site such as Competition Finder. While we can’t provide guarantees, we do check competitions to ensure that only those we believe to be genuine are listed on the site.
2. Check that a competition has terms and conditions clearly listed. This will commonly include who is restricted from entering, when the end date of the competition is and how winners will be notified.
3. If a prize is too good to be true that may be a reason to be suspicious. Obviously, if a large national organisation is offering a large cash prize then it is likely to be legitimate. However, if a small organisation is offering a huge prize this might raise warning bells.
4. Check that the site on which the competition is being offered looks legitimate. Companies usually offer prizes to promote their goods. If that’s the case you would expect other pages on the site to be about their business. If a competition site is only one page that could be a good reason to be suspicious.
5. If the text describing the competition is peppered with bad grammar and spelling mistakes, it could be a warning sign that the competition is a phishing scam of some sort.
1. It’s a good reason to be wary if a competition asks for too much information that’s not required for the purposes of entering. Also if they ask you to tick whether you would be interested in multiple other brands. This can indicate they are likely to sell on your data. Read Competition Finder’s post about common data collector competitions and websites to avoid
2. If you get an email congratulating you on winning a prize but you can’t remember entering the competition, it is a good idea to proceed with caution. Scammers are very clever at making emails look as though they’ve come from a legitimate source so double check the sending email and be wary of links.
3. If a competition is advertised on social media and appears to be run or endorsed by a big brand or someone famous, check that there is a verified tick. Scammers have been known to use very similar logos and brand names to make people believe competitions are endorsed by their favourite brands or celebrities. Another good option is to check their main website for a link back to their social media pages. Then you’ll know for sure you are on the right page.