According to the Direct Marketing Association, it is estimated that more than 55 million Americans enter sweepstakes each year, with 15 million entering four or more times a year. Here are some more interesting tidbits about sweepstakes that you may not have been aware of...
A sweepstakes mailer that states "you may have already won" really is making a true statement.
These types of sweepstakes generally have a pre-selected winning number which is chosen by an unbiased third party, or randomly by computer, prior to the sweepstakes mailer being sent out. Therefore, you really MAY have already won once you receive the mailer... of course, in this case, should you decide not to respond, you will forfeit your prize and it will generally be awarded in a random drawing to someone else (for those failing to respond to these types of mailers, it could just as easily read " you may have already forfeited your prize", so don't be afraid to enter!).
Colorful sweepstakes entries are 60% more likely to be picked than plain white entries.
This figure is according to a January 2006 article in "Woman's World" magazine. I have seen this demonstrated myself on several occasions during major TV shows when they are choosing a contest winner ("Regis and Kelly is one of them), along with some local contests. The judge will outright say "ooh, I like this bright red one!" or something to this effect. They, too, are human, and if it catches their eye, they are likely to pick it.
This same articles states that approximately 50% of sweepstakes entries are disqualified due to being incomplete, so be sure to fill in all entry fields when you are entering.
According to the National Consumers League, in the first six months of the year 2002 sweepstakes scams were the number three scam for consumers, with credit card scams taking first place, and Work-at-home scams following at number two.
This report also stated that the elderly were the most targeted group for sweepstakes scams with 61 percent of its victims being age 60 or older. Another reason to emphasize to elderly family members that they are <b> never</b> required to purchase anything, or pay for shipping, nor are required to pay any other types of fees to claim a legitimate sweepstakes prize.
The term Sweepstakes originated in horseracing.
This actually stems from a traditional horseracing game of chance where entrants would put up a stake, and the winner would "sweep all stakes". Again, current sweepstakes are required by law to request no monetary investment in order to win.
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