Every day people receive postcards and packages in the mail announcing "You Have Won!" The US Postal Inspection Service tells us these sweepstakes are just clever marketing devices to catch peoples' attention. Typically, these are mailings from a con artist whose sole purpose is to rip you off or sell you something.
According to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), it is not necessary to purchase a product to enter a sweepstakes, and it does not improve your chances of winning. These disclosures must appear in the sweepstakes mailing, in the rules, and on the entry form and must be easy to find, read, and understand.Sweepstakes Mailings Must Disclose:
Mailings Are Prohibited if They:
A name and business address where the sponsor may be contacted;
The estimated odds of winning each prize. If the odds are based on the number of entries, the stated odds should be based on an estimated number of entries;
The quality, estimated retail value, and the nature of every prize; and
A clear statement of the payment schedule for any prize.
State or suggest a purchase is needed to win;
Announce an individual has won a prize, when he/she has not;
Contradict or limit the sweepstakes rules or disclosures required by law; or
Imitate government seals to give the impression they have been sent by the federal government.
Read sweepstakes rules and regulations very carefully, including the very fine print. If you're not sure about the sweepstakes or have a bad feeling about it...DON'T ENTER!
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