Is It Safe to Give Your Social Security Number to Sweepstakes Sponsors?

Are You Risking ID Theft by Putting Your SS# on an Affidavit?

Protect Your Social Security Number
Should You Really Give Your Social to a Sweepstakes Sponsor?. Kameleon007 / Getty Images

When and Why Do Sweepstakes Sponsors Need my Social Security Number?

When you are picked as a potential sweepstakes winner, sweepstakes sponsors often ask you to fill out an affidavit with additional information including your social security number. Why do sponsors need this information? Is this an attempt at identity theft, or is it safe to hand over this information?

Sweepstakes Sponsors Have a Legitimate Need for Your Social Security Number

Although it's important to guard your social security number carefully, sweepstakes sponsors really do have a good reason for requiring it when you win.

By law, sweepstakes sponsors are required to report prizes awarded to U.S. residents to the IRS if the value is $600 or more. For tax purposes, the sponsors may also choose report prizes of lower values.

In order to be sure that the win is attributed to the right person, the sponsor needs to include your social security number on the forms that they send to the IRS. And to make sure that information is accurate, they require you to fill it out on an affidavit.

You Still Need to Be Careful with Your Social, Though!

So legitimate sponsors legitimately need your social security number when you win. But you still need to be careful, because scammers can use sweepstakes to try to trick you.

You should only give your social security number when you've received notice that you are a potential sweepstakes winner. Requesting a social security number when you enter might be a sign of a sweepstakes scam.

Also, make sure that you are a legitimate winner before you send in your social security number. Don't fall for something like this Quick and Simple Sweepstakes Scam, where scammers used a real winners list to try to defraud entrants.

Before you respond to a win notice, follow these tips to make sure your win is legit.

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