Are Online Sweepstakes a Scam?

Last Update: December 10, 2019

Are Online Lotteries and Sweepstakes a Scam?

Well, it depends. A scam is a fraudulent attemp to gain a monetary advantage over an unsuspecting victim. It can also be an attempt to gather information to be used in a later scheme through trickery or deception.

So, for example, take a website like PrizeGrab - is it a scam? PrizeGrab is an online sweepstakes that requires a name and email address to register to play, and also places cookies to monitor a users browsing habits. Prizegrab then sells this information to third parties - to use however they choose. Personal information is sold to anyone willing to pay the price, regardless of how they intend to use the information.

The whole thing sounds pretty ugly to me. Yet, by definition, Prizegrab is not considered a scam. Why?

  1. It costs no money to register for the various sweepstakes (just a name and an email address.)
  2. No trickery is used. Participants voluntarily provide their information to register.
  3. PrizeGrab discloses that cookies are placed "to enhance user experience".
  4. PrizeGrab discloses that information "may be shared with third parties".

So, is it a scam? By definition, no. But, to me, it is playing with fire visiting sites like this. At the very least, use a fake name and throw-away email address. Also, be sure to clear your browser once you finish and leave the site.


Join the Discussion
Write something…
Recent messages
LouiseBT Premium Plus
Hi there

Please have a look at the rules within the WA community, we are not to shared links within our blogs as it is considered spam: Blessings
Hbroken Premium
Hi Louise - I had no idea. Thanks for letting me know. I will check the rules now. It is not my intention to spam, I was just linking back to a fuller explanation - if anyone wanted more info.
Hbroken Premium
Hi Louise - Second reply. I had intended only to link back to an article about Prizegrab being a potential scam. Because I subsequently referred to it by it's dot-com domain name, it apparently linked back two other times to the actual site - ACCIDENTALLY! I can see how that might appear spammy. But I did not want to send people to that website. I wanted to keep them AWAY! LOL
Thanks again for letting me know.