Thursday, June 17, 2010

Caution Ahead: Never Pay To Win

Yesterday, I received a promising announcement letter stating I have "been officially awarded eligibility totaling $2,034,887," accompanied by a claim form that could easily be misread. After sifting through the fine print, I discovered this gobbledygook required a $20 fee. For what??!! The Las Vegas address was another tip off that something wasn't quite right. (Florida addresses also set off warning bells.) I don't care how official those forms look, if you have to pay to win something, you're getting ripped off! Turns out the company listed "is a reporting service that provides information on various sweepstakes that are managed by separate corporate entities." So, you're ultimately buying a report of available sweepstakes. When in doubt, Google. Looks like I'm not the only one to have received one of these tempting missives. To avoid scams, only contests with reputable companies are mentioned here. Yes, when you win, especially something big, you may have to sign some kind of form and declare your prize on your taxes, but you won't have to "buy" anything. Fly away if someone ever asks you to pay for something you've "won". If you don't, chances are you'll lose.

And speaking of flying, Saveur magazine and AT&T are running a World Traveler Sweepstakes. The grand prize winner jets off with a $1,500 Gift Certificate redeemable for air travel purchases. That ought to cover a flight to Paris. Soar on over and enter.

- the link to Saveur and AT&T's World Traveler Sweepstakes:

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