Oregon State Treasury

Tobias Read OREGON STATE TREASURER

Easy Winnings and Mysterious Contests

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Have you ever won a contest that you didn’t enter, with no string attached?  Sounds ridiculous, right?  But these can be ingenious, and people fall into traps involving “free winnings” every year.  In some cases, the supposed winners are asked to supply a bank account number into which to transfer the money.  Those that give their account data end up losing… a lot.

Shenanigans to watch out for:   

CONTESTS ATTACHED TO PRODUCTS

Contests are sometimes used by legitimate businesses to attract customers, but sometimes those businesses get in trouble. In 2001, twenty-six states including Oregon reached a $34 million settlement with Publishers Clearing House over allegations that the company used deceptive mailing practices in its sweepstakes mailings.

FREE CONTESTS

When you enter a free drawing for goods or services or even free online contests, you are giving your personal information to somebody who could sell it or potentially could steal your identity. At a minimum, you could be signing up to receive lots of advertising that you don’t want.  Even if you're merely voting be text message for, say, a singer on a popular TV show... your number might then be sold to telemarketers!

MODELING OR ACTING JOBS

Some businesses advertise their connections to the modeling industry or promise to help cast clients in commercials or films, but unfortunately some of those firms are most interested in getting people to hire them.​