Tag Archives: contest

Reflecting on Sweepstakes Resolutions

Reflections

Since the end of the year is approaching, I looked back to my January post “Sweeping Resolutions” to see what I have accomplished and what I still have left to get done.  In that post, I had set out four sweepstakes items I wanted to accomplish before the close of 2017.

The first was to schedule monthly meetings of the Boise Sweepstakes Club.  I already had a dedicated Facebook page for the club where I post local and regional sweepstakes.  But I wanted to build a community in my town around sweepstaking where we could meet every month to talk sweeping, support each other, enter sweepstakes together, and make the hobby even more fun and social!  So, in July I started a page on meetup.com for Boise Sweepstakes Club, and in just 3 months we have 15 members.  This does not count all the folks who like and follow Boise Sweepstakes Club on Facebook.

My second resolution was to enter even more sweepstakes.  To help achieve this goal, I decided to attend the National Sweepstakes Convention this year. It was held on a cruise and introduced me to many more resources for sweepstaking.  You can read a bit about the convention and the entire adventure on my other blog here. I am utilizing a lot more online sweepstaking information sites than I was before the convention, which has allowed me to find more sweepstakes to enter.

Next on my resolutions list was to reapply to teach a sweepstaking class through my city’s community education program.  You may remember that the first time I applied to teach the course, my idea was turned down.  However, I am happy to report that I was selected to teach the class earlier this month, and the class, entitled Sweepstaking: Fun & Free, was held October 9. Six people registered for the course, but only three showed up for the class.  I still had a lot of fun teaching it, and my students seemed excited to learn.  I am awaiting feedback, and to hear whether I can teach this course again in the future.

My final sweepstaking resolution for 2017 was to write a memoir centered around my years doing this hobby.  It is the only resolution I have not taken steps toward, so to ensure I would push myself to complete it before the end of the year, I signed up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).  A memoir is not a novel, however, if you write in the nonfiction genre they simply call you a “rebel” but you can still participate via their free website for writing support. The idea of NaNoWriMo is to write a 50,000 word book in just the 30 days of November.  It is not meant to be a publishable piece at the end of one month.  It is more to encourage you to get a draft down.  You can edit it later after the month is over.  As of right now, I am registered at the NaNoWriMo site with a working title for my memoir, a brief synopsis, and my husband is working on creating a book cover for me.  If I do complete my 50,000 words in 30 days, I’m considered a “winner” – and I love that word!

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ANATOMY OF A SCAM LETTER

scam bulldog

Just this past week I received a tricky scam letter telling me “CONGRATULATIONS” because I had won the Sol Pacifico Cerritos “Great Giveaway” Contest.

I looked at all aspects of the notification letter to conclude that this was a scam.  Here are some of the things to look for.

  • Does the sender’s e-mail address (or name) exist at the company it claims to be from? Either a Google search or visiting the company’s website and doing a search should yield an answer. In the case of my letter, while the company existed, the name of the person it was sent from did not.
  • Check the date of the e-mail against the date the contest ended. If the contest ended quite a bit in the past and you are just getting notified, it should be a red flag.  While it is possible to receive notification months after a sweepstakes ends, it is just one of several things to consider together with other clues.  Checking the rules for the contest end date and drawing date will help decipher the answer.
  • Does the letter address you personally? Usually you must provide your basic information, including your name, to enter a sweepstakes. If the letter merely refers to you as “winner” then that is a red flag.  But again, this should be taken with all other clues.  Today I received a win notice that referred to me as “winner” but turned out to be legitimate.
  • Does the contest exist and did you enter it? Search for the name of the contest online. If you cannot find it referenced anywhere, it probably does not exist.  Also, if you did not enter the contest, whether it exists online or not, then you did not win it. In the case of my letter, I could not find that any such contest existed.
  • Does it cost money to claim your prize? On my letter, the prize description was for Free Roundtrip Airfare Tickets from certain airports.  However, upon closer examination, the redemption instructions included having to buy a 5-night minimum stay at their resort.  IMPORTANT: You never need to buy anything to claim a legitimate sweepstakes prize.
  • If the letter has an option that says, “Click here to leave mailing list,” that is a sure sign that it is not a personal letter, but rather a pitch that has gone out to an entire mailing list.
  • Are there links? Please do not click any links in the e-mail until you have verified that your win is legitimate.  These could be used by scammers to verify your personal information.

Selling Prizes for Fun and Fixing

Sold!

In past blog posts, I have talked about some reasons for sweeping other than just winning prizes for yourself.  These included gifting to friends and family and donating to local charitable causes. But there is another advantage to winning prizes: selling them to buy something else you want or need.  I have two examples from this year where I won large prizes and sold them for one thing I wanted and something else I needed.

A little over a year ago on July 21, 2016 I was fortunate enough to win a regional contest for a Yamaha Waverunner and trailer worth around $9000.  At first I couldn’t decide whether to keep it or sell it. So, I kept it unused in my garage through the winter, and in the spring decided that it was best to sell it.  I took it back to the dealer that distributed the prize and negotiated a fair price.  I then took the money to do something I have always wanted to do!  I registered myself and a friend for the National Sweepstakes Convention Cruise, which happens this fall.  I had been wanting to attend the convention for several years, but was never in a financial position to do it.  Selling the Waverunner connected me to my dream goal (and quite a nice vacation opportunity!)

Earlier this year I won a $5000 pinball machine.  When I got it, the key was missing and though I tried hard to track it down from the sponsor and distributor, I had no luck.  I had a machine I couldn’t play.  Knowing this, the distributor put me in touch with a local businessman who was looking for a pinball machine. We negotiated a price, and the buyer paid me and picked it up. The very next day, our hot water heater broke.  It was an unexpected expense, and due to other priorities, not one we had set money aside for.  How fortunate that I had just sold the pinball machine!  We used that money to get a new water heater.

So now I don’t just enter sweepstakes where I want the prize.  I enter sweepstakes for prizes I perhaps could not use, but I know that I could sell for money.  Then I can treat myself to my true desires!

New Layout

Shine On Owl

As you may have noticed, there is a new layout and color scheme to the blog since your last visit.  I wanted to make it more fun to look at, as well as more colorful.  Plus I loved the owl with the phrase Shine On because according to the Urban Dictionary, that phrase means: “The act of showing off your bling or expensive thing that glistens or “shines” in the light that is a sign you have excessive amounts of money (Rims, diamonds, gold, silver, etc.)”  What better phrase for a sweepstakes website?!