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  #1  
Old 09-02-2009, 04:19 AM
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Default Sweepstakes Help and Tips

I thought it would be a good idea to have a thread where people could post questions they may have regarding the intracacies of sweepstakes and constests. I may not have all the answers, but prolly someone out there will.

I wanted to make sure to caution those who enter that the big prizes carry with them a TAX liability. (I'm not 100% certain, I think in
some instances the max you can win without paying taxes is $600.00. . .it might be lower, I'll try to find out). There are certain sweeps that you enter that have a cash component, intended to help you pay any taxes that are owed.

If anyone else has sweeps/contest help, tips or tricks to share with us, here's a place to put them!
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  #2  
Old 09-03-2009, 09:21 AM
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Default Some cautionary info

  • Never pay to play. It’s illegal for a company to require you to buy something or pay a fee in order to win or claim a prize.
  • Buying something doesn’t improve your chances of winning. It’s illegal for a company to even suggest that your chances will be better if you make a purchase.
  • Don’t believe that you have to give the company money for taxes on your prize. It’s up to you to declare your prize winnings when you file your income taxes.
  • Be cautious about emails for contests and sweepstakes. Many unsolicited emails are fraudulent.
  • Guard your credit card and bank account numbers. No legitimate sweepstakes company will ask for this information. Never give your social security number to a sweepstakes operator unless you have carefully checked it out with the Better Business Bureau or your state or local consumer protection agency.
  • Be on guard for imposters. Some con artists use company names that are identical or very similar to well-known, legitimate sweepstakes operators. Tell them that you’ll get back to them and contact the real companies to ask if there is any connection.
  • Be wary of offers to send you an “advance” on your “winnings.” Some con artists use this ploy to build trust and get money from your bank. They send you a check for part of your “winnings,” instructing you to deposit it and then wire payment to them for taxes, bonding, or some other phony purpose. The bank tells you the check has cleared because the normal time has passed to be notified that checks have bounced. After you wire the money, the check that you deposited finally bounces because it turned out to be an elaborate fake. Now the crooks have your payment, and you’re left owing your bank the amount that you withdrew.
  • Get all the details. Legitimate sweepstakes companies will tell you exactly how the contest works, including the odds of winning, the value of the prizes, the date that the contest ends, and how you can find out who won.
  • Be especially cautious about foreign sweepstakes companies. Many fraudulent sweepstakes companies that target U.S. consumers are located in Canada or other countries, which makes it much more difficult for law enforcement agencies to pursue them.
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  #3  
Old 09-03-2009, 11:11 AM
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Yeahmarker

Thanks, magie!.
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  #4  
Old 09-05-2009, 12:20 AM
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Default

Roboform is an indispensable tool for any sweeper. If you use just one tool to enter sweepstakes more easily, it should be this one. RoboForm is a top-rated Password Manager and Web Form Filler that completely automates password entering and form filling. RoboForm was named PC Magazine Editor's Choice, and CNET Download.com's Software of the Year.

If you're not sure whether you want to use Roboform or not, give the free version a try. If you need more features, you can upgrade to the paid version.

Roboform does away with the repetitive entry of your personal information into entry forms. Simply type your personal information into Roboform, and you will be able to automatically fill forms with a single click of your mouse. You'll save an enormous amount of time and energy, and be able to enter more sweepstakes than ever before.

The basic Roboform software is free to download; however, you may want to consider upgrading to the "professional" version after you try out the software. The one-time fee is very reasonable, only about $30, and you will have access to unlimited identities, saved forms, and advanced features.

The only drawback of using Roboform is that some sweepstakes prohibit entry with any form-filling aid. Although Roboform does not usually fall under the designation of an automatic entry, you should not use the software to enter if the sweepstakes rules require manual entry or manual keystrokes.

As with most disqualification questions,whether or not a sponsor will disqualify you for using Roboform depends on the specific sweepstakes sponsor. Almost all sweepstakes include verbiage in their rules that looks something like this:
Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any entry that it believes contains obscene, offensive or inappropriate content, that does not comply with these official rules, or that is not consistent with the spirit of the contest.


That basically means that the sponsor can disqualify you for any reason, including using Roboform, without telling you about it in advance. However, most sponsors won't disqualify you unless you break a guideline specifically mentioned in their rules.

Benefits


Roboform saves huge amounts of time entering sweepstakes
Makes sure you never forget a password
Reduces frustration and boredom in sweepstakes entry
No spyware or adware
Download a basic, unlimited version of Roboform for free
It's Universal: works with Internet Explorer, AOL/MSN, Firefox.
IE 8, IE 7, Firefox 3.5 and Vista are fully supported.


Potential Drawbacks


Some sweepstakes prohibit entry with Roboform
Some features only available with payment
Roboform doesn't work with Flash Sweepstakes
Roboform only works with Windows-based computers
Description
Roboform is a form filling program that enters your information into entry forms with a single click of your mouse.
Roboform saves the passwords you use to enter different sweepstakes, so that you can easily remember them later.
Roboform saves entry forms all of your preferences pre-filled (limited "passcards" included with free download).
Roboform allows you to store information for each family member (limited number of identities included with free download).

Find Roboform here: http://www.roboform.com/
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  #5  
Old 09-06-2009, 03:00 PM
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Below is a list of some commonly used acronyms and jargon that might be of help you in your sweeping. Some contest publications use the terms below and you may also see some of them used in sweepstaking forums.
ACV- Actual Cash Value
Addy - Address (email or street)
Affidavit- Slang- Affy. A written statement made on oath, as before a notary public.
Alternate- The original winner has declined the prize so they choose another winner.
ARV- Actual Retail Value
ASAP- As soon as possible.
Certified Mail- A delivery that must be signed for by the recipient
Contest- Usually requires providing something such as a jingle, a picture, an essay, etc. It often requires some type of skill.
DH- Web Slang- Darling Husband
DOB- Date of Birth
FAQ- Slang- Frequently asked Questions
FYI- Slang- For your information
NAZ- Slang- Name and full Address including zip code
Notary- An official authorized to certify or attest documents.
OEB- Official Entry Blank
One Per Household- One entry per resident mailing address.
OT- Web Slang- Off the topic
Postcard- Must be at least 3 1/2 x 5 to legally go through the postal system
Postmarked By- Means your entry must be stamped by the postal service for that particular date. Do not use office post marking machines.
Potential Winner- Usually, winning letters come with this on them. It means that until the sponsor or judging agency receives your signed affidavit, they cannot verify you as a winner.
SASE- Self-addressed, stamped envelope.
Second Chance- If a contest is giving away 100 stereos, like in a game piece contest, and some are unclaimed, they provide a means to distribute them through 2nd Chance. (These are usually good ones to enter.)
Signed Entry- Your signature, not printed. Make sure it is your own, don't sign for others.
Sweepstakes- A company is doing a promotion, giving prizes away.
#10 Envelope- Contrary to its name, it is an envelope that is 4 1/8 x 9 1/2 (then WHY do they call it a #10, eh???)
3x5 Index Card- Standard size index card, preferably blank
3x5 Paper- Regular blank paper
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  #6  
Old 09-07-2009, 08:22 AM
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Default E-Mail Addys

Before you start enterin sweeps or contests, you might want to consider opening up a second, primarily "junk mail" e-mail addy. This would be an address that you could devote mostly exclusively to entering sweeps and contests. It won't interfere with your chance of winning (as long as you check it frequently for notice of a win!), and may save you some heartache and TONS of spam in the long run. Most of you are aware, but you can get FREE e-mail addys from either hotmail, yahoo, g-mail. There are likely others other there that I'm unaware of, but those are 3 of the most popular.

Many valid contest and sweepstakes sites have privacy policies that prohibit them from selling e-mail addresses they aquire, but that's not always the case. However, companies can be a sued over this issue if they do sell your address.

You may want to consider entering sweeps and contests only with the larger, well known companies. Smaller companies may figure your address as one of their assets and not feel any compunction about selling it to other marketers.
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  #7  
Old 09-08-2009, 04:43 PM
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Default Sweepstaking is an Exercise in Patience

Don't plan on winning immediately. You just shouldn't give up too quickly. To win, you need lots and lots and lots and lots and. . .well, LOTS of patience... after which you need just a bit more patience. Winning your first prize can take a loooooooooooooong time, and the only way around that long, dry spell is to just to keep entering until you win. Remember that the more frequently you enter, the better your chances are of winning!
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Old 09-08-2009, 06:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MagiePerdu View Post
Don't plan on winning immediately. You just shouldn't give up too quickly. To win, you need lots and lots and lots and lots and. . .well, LOTS of patience... after which you need just a bit more patience. Winning your first prize can take a loooooooooooooong time, and the only way around that long, dry spell is to just to keep entering until you win. Remember that the more frequently you enter, the better your chances are of winning!
You got that right for sure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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  #9  
Old 09-08-2009, 07:10 PM
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Magie thank you for the tips.....
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  #10  
Old 09-20-2009, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grams1952 View Post
Magie thank you for the tips.....
Most welcome, grams. . .happy if they help someone! Here's a few more that I don't think were covered above:


It's always a very good idea to check out a sites privacy policy, you can avoid getting a LOT more SPAM (SPAM is unsolicited email, not opt-in newsletters.

If you signed up for a newsletter (or magazine) and didn't mean to, just unsubscribe). (You can also avoid getting unwanted mail by "un-checking" pre-checked boxes that want you to get info and newsletters that you might rather not have) It's always a good idea to know who you are giving your private information to, as well. If you are not sure about it...don't do it.


Oce more, NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER send money for a prize. Almost all scams are run this way. Even if they promise you a bazillion dollars...don't do it. It will be the fastest way to lose your money. (You ARE obligated to pay taxes on your prize - generally on your tax return - but you should never have to send money in order to receive your prize and I would avoid entering any sweepstakes that mentioned anything sending money up front.) Use your own judgment for shipping and handling requests. Smaller companies may ask for it but I'd be wary unless I trusted the company. My opinion is that they are using this as a promotion and cost of prize and shipping should be something they can write off on their taxes as a business expense.

Just like you should never have to pay to enter, sweepstakes should never require a purchase to enter. They should ALWAYS list at least 1 alternate way to enter free. (BTW, contests, on the other hand, are apparently allowed to charge for entry, but they don't always charge to enter.)


If you have the time to enter more than those BIG contests, consider entering some of the little contests. They generally get fewer entries so your chances of winning are greater. (Just make sure it is for a prize you want)
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