How to avoid competition scams

Q) How do you know if a competition is legitimate and not a scam?

I am sure you are all quite able to spot an obvious scam a mile off, but sometimes even the best of us get caught out. One simple rule of thumb is  ‘If you didn’t enter it, you didn’t win it’. If you get a letter through the door saying you have won millions but you don’t ever remember entering the competition be cautious - why would you be winning such a large prize if you didn’t have to enter or don’t even know who the promoter is?

Equally you should not have to pay more than the cost of a stamp to receive your prize (or else it isn’t really a prize is it?), so if you are asked to send off your bank details or a sum of money in advance, beware. The Advertising Standards Authority monitor promotions that are sent through the post, but unfortunately some companies that operate from abroad can still get through. Recent scams have come from The Netherlands and Canada.

If you wish to report a scam, you can contact the Advertising Standards Authority at:

Q) Is it possible to win on a scratch card, or are these just scams?

Yes, it is possible to win on a scratch card and I know many compers who have. However we have all heard about the long and expensive premium rate phones calls (costing up to £13.00) they usually ask you to make to obtain your specific prize code and none of us want bigger phone bills!

You can be avoided this by reading the small print on the back of scratch cards very carefully.  Often you will find, probably hidden away in the middle of the terms and conditions, a sentence that states that claim numbers can also be obtained by post (a NPN route) - this will cost you 30p instead of £13.00!

If this is not possible, you need to weigh up if the lowest value prize that you would win is worth more than £13.00 to you. If so, then it could be worth making that call – it is up to you to judge how much you would want the smallest prize!

All of the competitions featured in Simply Prizes and Coffee Break Winner are checked by our team before we publish them.