Fooled or Not? Steps to take if you have been told you won a sweepstakes or contest

By: Julie Link | In: Best Practices, Contests, Legal and Prize Fulfillment, Sweepstakes

In honor of April Fool’s Day, I wanted to shed some insight on how to determine if you’re being “fooled” or not when you receive a call informing you that you’re a potential winner of a sweepstakes or contest. Many times when we call consumers to inform them that they have been selected as a potential prize winner, they’re often skeptical at first, which is completely understandable. Even though they took the time to enter, not many people really expect to actually win a prize.  At Sync, we take many steps on our end to make sure potential winners feel comfortable and do everything we can to assure them that the sweepstakes or contest is legit, but here are some things to consider if and when you receive this type of call.

1. Do you remember entering the sweepstakes or contest? If not, make sure that the caller tells you the exact name of the sweepstakes and the company running the promotion.  Once you have this information, look it up for yourself and see if it rings a bell.

2. Who is calling you? Is it the company that ran the sweepstakes or a marketing agency, like Sync Marketing, who was the administrator? If it is in fact an agency, be sure to look them up as well and ask for a link to or a copy of the Official Rules to be sure they are the administrator of the promotion.

3. If they are telling you that the prize you have won is $600 or more, expect to receive a W9 form. This isn’t a scam, but a requirement to report this to the IRS since you will be receiving prize winnings of $600 or more.

4. If you receive a W9 form, expect to also receive an Affidavit of Eligibility and Release Form that details your prize. Make sure that the details of the prize and total ARV match the prize description in the Official Rules.

In the age of identity theft, it is understandable that one should be cautious, but once you’ve taken the steps to look into the legitimacy of the sweepstakes or contest for yourself, you should be confident that you are not being fooled before you provide any information.