Entering Sweepstakes? Here's How You'll Know You've Won

Don't Miss a Sweepstakes Prize Win; Learn How You'll Be Notified

Sweepstakes Winners are contacted by email, phone, more.
Sweepstakes Winners Are Contacted by Email, Mail, Phone, and More.. Image (c) anzlyldrm / DigitalVision Vectors / Getty Images

So it's your lucky day and your name has been drawn as the winner of a giveaway. Yahoo! But how will you find out that you've won? And what can you do to decrease your chances of overlooking your prize?

Companies use several different methods to notify people that they've been chosen as a potential winner. Here are the most popular:

Check Your Email to See If You've Won:

Many sweepstakes will send a winning notice to the email address that the entrant used on their entry form.

Email notifications will sometimes include an attachment with the sweepstakes rules with an affidavit to print out and return by mail. Other times, the notification will include a link to a website where more information can be found.

In order to be sure you don't overlook an email notification, be sure to set up a dedicated email address for sweepstakes, and to check it frequently. It's also a good idea to familiarize yourself with what winning emails look like so that you don't skip over a prize by accident.

Getting Win Notices by Mail:

Many companies send winning notifications by mail. The letter may arrive by postal service or via a delivery service such as FedEx or UPS. Along with the information that you've won, you may also receive forms to fill out to claim the prize, such as an affidavit. It's convenient to have these forms mailed to you instead of needing to print them out yourself.

Beware of any win notifications that come by bulk mail. Legitimate companies won't be notifying winners in bulk, whereas many scams send mass mailings to try to trick as many people as possible.

Telephone Calls to Let You Know You've Won:

You can also receive the good news that you've won by telephone.

It's important that you Oftentimes, the sponsor will try to reach the winner a certain number of times and then move on to the next name on the list.

In most cases, companies won't leave messages on your answering machine to let you know you've won, so be sure to use a telephone number where you can easily be reached! See how to use call forwarding for tips on not missing out on your prize.

Of course, some scammers will also call to try to trick you. Make sure that you know the signs of telephone scams so you don't fall for one of these cons.

Find Out If You've Won Immediately:

When you win instant sweepstakes, you will find out right away if you've won a prize. Most of the time, a message will pop up on your screen letting you know you're a winner, though sometimes you'll receive an email within a few minutes of entering.

Be on the lookout for additional information that you need to fill out to claim your prize, such as a shipping address. Closing your winning screen too quickly could cost you the prize.

Winning Announcement on a Website or Newsletter:

Some sweepstakes only announce winners on their website or in a newsletter. If you don't respond within a certain amount of time, the company will give the prize to the next name that they draw.

In order to avoid missing out on a prize like this, be sure to leave yourself a reminder to check back to see if you are the winner. A program like Google Calendar will send you a reminder email when it's time to check Be careful about unsubscribing from sweepstakes emails if the winners will be notified in a newsletter.

Having a Google Alert on your name can act as a fail-safe to keep you from overlooking these kinds of wins.

Social Media Win Announcements:

If you enter Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook sweepstakes, you will often receive win notifications through social media. Make sure to check your direct messages to find out if you've won a prize. On Facebook, be sure to check your messages from people who are not your friends as well. Facebook doesn't display these messages as prominently, and it's easy to overlook a win notice that comes by this method.

Surprize! You've Won:

Once in a while, a prize will simply appear on your doorstep with no prior warning whatsoever. This is what regular sweepers call a "surprize". Many sweepers feel their hearts jump every time they see a delivery truck, hoping that it's holding a surprize for them. These prizes are the hardest to miss out on, as long as you don't have a problem receiving packages by postal service or delivery service.

Where to Find Out How You'll Be Notified:

So how will you know which method to be on the lookout for? Most sweepstakes will describe how winners will be notified in their rules. But it's a good idea to spend a few minutes a day going through your sweepstakes emails, opening even unfamiliar mail, and making sure that you're reachable by telephone to make sure that you don't pass up a valuable prize.

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