Welcome to this week’s Sweeping Sunday! If you’d like to see past editions, you can find them here. So you’ve been entering sweepstakes and are anxiously awaiting to hear if you’ve won something. None of us sweepers can deny we just love the thrill of finding out we won something, big or small! Did you know there are a variety of ways you can be contacted that you were a winner? Each sweepstakes usually has it detailed in the official rules and this week I’ll discuss the most common ways you can expect notification and how it generally works.
- Email: This is the most common way to get notified of wins. It’s cheap, quick, and easy to use. However, from the winner’s end, it can also be easy to miss. Some prize notification emails will make it obvious that you have won a sweepstakes or giveaway via the subject line, while others make you dig a bit more for it. On the flip side, some companies will use this as a marketing ploy to set up an advertisement email to make it look like you’ve won when you haven’t. Please, PLEASE, don’t fall prey to sending in money to confirm yourself as a winner. You should never have to do this as a winner to a legitimate sweepstakes. Generally with blog giveaways, you’ll have to email the blogger back with your details to confirm your win. If you win a prize that is of a higher value, you may be requested to send in a form that you fill out or need to have notarized, often within a certain time frame. Because of this, I always suggest to have an email account you only use for sweepstakes and check it at least every other day including your spam/junk folder. If you don’t, it’s very possible you’ll lose out on great wins!
- Postal Mail: Sometimes you won’t even get notification that you won a prize, they just show up in the mail. In fact, I received a $5 Family Dollar gift card yesterday in the mail that I had no idea I had won. You may at times also receive a regular or certified letter stating that you won. Again, you may have a form to fill out and send back, so don’t leave them sitting on the counter! Also, don’t be so quick to assume that a letter is spam and toss it in the trash. Sweepstakes are one of the ways a brand advertises, so that envelope with a company name on it may have a check inside it and not a credit card offer! You may also have to sign for a proof of delivery upon the company’s request.
- Letter Sent from UPS/Fedex etc. : This is how you’re usually notified of big wins because they’re sending you an affidavit to sign! Again, you may have to sign for proof of delivery. Other times you may receive packages from wins that you were never notified of.
- Phone Call: This seems to be one of the rarer forms of notification now days, but it’s still possible. I mainly see people say they were notified by phone when they’ve won a trip or it’s a local prize. Either way, ALWAYS answer your phone that you sign up for sweeps with! Sometimes there is a clause in the rules that state the sponsor will NOT leave a message if they can’t reach you, and they even may only give you one chance to answer. So again, please always answer, and this is coming from a person that used to regularly screen calls. Remember, if you want to get around giving your phone out, you can sign up for a free Google Voice account, give that phone number out, and have those calls forwarded to your active phone number.
- Text Message: This is another rare notification method and is usually reserved for text to win games. Usually you are texted a short message with a verification code and website to go to to claim your prize.
- Twitter or Facebook Messages: You’ll usually only be notified by these networks if you win a sweepstakes or giveaway that is being held on the respective social network. When I won a Twitter sweepstakes for the La-z-Boy chair, I received a direct message on Twitter asking for my contact details to be able to move forward with the claiming process.
- Listed on a Website or Blog: Sometimes you’ll be responsible for going back to a site or blog and seeing if your name is on the winning list and then contacting the sponsor to claim your prize. This is a practice I see happening less and less, and mostly for blog giveaways, but is still a possibility, so always be aware of how winners will be notified. There’s nothing worse in the sweeps world than finding out you won a giveaway or sweepstakes but missed the opportunity to claim your win!
- Instant Notification: Usually when you win an instant win game, you’ll see the notification on the screen, generally followed by an email confirmation. Every now and then you’ll run across one that will notify you instantly via email only. I always love that instant gratification!