Are Reader's Digest Sweepstakes Scams or Legitimate?

Can You Trust Sweepstakes From Reader's Digest?

Businessmen stealing bags of money
••• Reader's Digest Sweepstakes... Can They Be Trusted?. Oivind Hovland / Getty Images

Reader's Digest offers big sweepstakes with very enticing prizes... but are those sweepstakes trustworthy? Many people wonder why they've never heard of anyone winning a major prize from Reader's Digest. Are the prizes really awarded, or is entering just a waste of time... or worse, an invitation to identity theft?

The good news is that Reader's Digest sweepstakes are legit, just hard to win.

Reader's Digest's sweepstakes are not scams.

RD is a legitimate company that is famous for big, million-dollar creative presentation sweepstakes, which they advertise both online and through direct mail. These big giveaways are a marketing tactic to spread the word about their magazine and encourage more sales.

These sweepstakes have very long odds of winning. For example, some of their creative presentations have odds of 50 million to one or more. But even though the odds of winning are as long as many lotteries, they have a big advantage over lotteries— you don't have to pay to enter so you basically have no risk.

Aside from their million-dollar giveaways, Reader's Digest also offers other sweepstakes throughout the year, many of which have smaller prizes and better odds.

Some people worry that Reader's Digest sweepstakes are scams because they don't know any winners. But with millions of entries into the million-dollar sweepstakes and only one big winner per giveaway, it's not surprising if none of your personal friends are winners, even if you and your friends have been entering for years.

However, it's not hard to find out who's won recently; Reader's Digest's big winners are usually announced in the news, on YouTube, and/or on the website.

However, Reader's Digest Sweepstakes Scams Do Exist

So if Reader's Digest's sweepstakes are legitimate, why do you hear about people being scammed when they respond to win notifications?

Sadly, it's not unusual for scammers to misuse the name of reliable companies to make themselves seem more trustworthy.

This is a problem that many large companies face. Heineken and Publishers Clearing House are also common targets of look-alike scams. Luckily, it's usually pretty easy to tell the difference between the scams and real wins.

If you receive a win notification from Reader's Digest sweepstakes, follow the tips for identifying the warning signs of sweepstakes scams before responding. Some important questions to ask yourself before you include:

  • Did you really enter the giveaway named in the win notification?
  • Does the win notification come from a legitimate Reader's Digest email address? Or if it came by mail, did it come by regular or registered mail (higher chance of being legitimate), or did it have bulk rate postage (higher chance of being a scam)?
  • Is the sender asking for money, a credit card number, or a bank account number?

It's also a good idea to review the things that aren't signs of sweepstakes scams to see what's normal when you win sweepstakes so that you don't turn down a legitimate win.

Be sure to read the fine print of any notices you read. Some of the RD sweepstakes offers you receive by mail might seem, at first glance, to indicate that you have already won or that you'll have a higher chance of winning if you buy something.

Be sure to read the information you receive carefully to see how to enter without making an unwanted purchase.

If you still aren't sure whether you have won a legitimate prize or not, you can call RD's customer service line at 1-800-310-2181 to ask for more information. Be sure to never call a telephone number included in a win notification to check for legitimacy. Scammers will direct calls to a number that they can answer to try to trick you into believing they are legitimate.

Are Sweepstakes Worth Entering?

Just because Reader's Digest sweepstakes are legit doesn't mean that they are worth your time.

If you're excited about entering the sweepstakes that Reader's Digest has to offer and you're having fun with them, then go ahead and enter. But remember that the odds of winning are long; you want to avoid becoming frustrated if you don't win.

Make sure that you're also entering some sweepstakes with better odds of winning so that you are receiving prizes regularly.

If you decide to go ahead and enter, you might be wondering where to find the giveaways. Reader's Digest offers sweepstakes in countries around the world. Here are some of the sites for RD sweepstakes:

For other regions, check your local Reader's Digest website.