Complete Guide to Safe Online Competitions
Entering competitions online is a popular way to engage with our favourite businesses online. Whether you tag your friends to win a voucher or guess how many chocolates are in a jar, competitions are a great way for customers and businesses to connect online. These types of competitions are especially popular on Facebook and Instagram.
Unfortunately, the popularity of competitions also means that they can become targets for impersonators. Impersonators are unofficial business pages or personal accounts that look like the business. These accounts often have ill-intentions, and try to catch out the loyal followers who enter the competition.
Australian Fundraising takes cybersafety very seriously, especially when it comes to our loyal fundraisers. We regularly give out lots of awesome prizes to our followers, including our P&C Committee of the Year Award, FundRazor of the Year Award, Apple Prize Pack, STEM Kits and so much more. This means that we need to be continuously protecting our followers from impersonators online.
Discover our complete guide to participating in safe online competitions to make sure your identity is protected online.
Tips for participating in safe online competitions
Staying safe online applies to more than just protecting your credit card details! With online competitions more popular than ever, it is important that you know how to keep your information, identity and social media presence safe from impersonators.
Look for the details
Check for multiple sources of the competition information – for example, the website, an email they sent out, and the social media page. A legitimate business will often post their competitions in multiple places, because they own (and have worked hard) to build and secure their online presence.
Impersonators will often rely on quick account start ups to try and trick social media users into entering the competition. They may even ask you to enter via a tiny URL (eg. www.tinyurl.com/businessname), a Google Form, or another suspicious looking website. If the competition doesn’t seem to be advertised elsewhere, they may be illegitimate and potential cause for concern.
If you’re unsure, try and contact the business and confirm that they are in fact running a competition and that you are supposed to enter in a particular way. If you still get a bad feeling, it’s probably best to leave it be this time around.
Make sure the terms and conditions exist, and that you can easily find them. Terms and conditions are a helpful way to know that you have some protection if something goes wrong. Finding the terms and conditions and making sure you agree to them before entering a competition is an important way to ensure a company’s competition is legitimate. If you cannot find the terms of the conditions, or they don’t seem to align with what the social media page is advertising, the competition may be run by an imposter!
Ensure spelling, grammar and page logos align with the company’s official website.
Unfortunately, impersonators can be very good at mimicking business pages, and tricking followers into giving away their information. Looking for proper spelling, grammar, logos and terms can be one way to check that the page is correct. Some helpful things to look for include:
- Capitalization, spelling and punctuation of product names, such as Colour Explosion School Run 4 Fun and Plant-A-Difference,
- High resolution, accurate logos that are consistent across all pages,
- Correctly spelled and punctuated URL’s, such as australianfundraising.com.au instead of australian-fundraising.net.au.
Most companies only have one Facebook page or Instagram profile. If you’re not sure which one is correct, emailing the company through their website may be the safest way to go.
Find out how winners will be contacted.
Know when you should expect to find out the winner, and how they anticipate informing you. A legal requirement of a competition is that there is an end date, and the winners will be contacted at a specific time. You can use this information to determine whether a notification of winning is legitimate. If the terms and conditions state that the winner will be notified on 17 September, and you are connected on 2 September, this notification is a scam!
Competitions will also have clear instructions on how to enter the competition. You should not be asked to confirm your entry, or provide extra information to give yourself more entries.
Never provide personal information.
A competition entry should never ask for personal information like an address, credit card number or any other identifying information. It may be reasonable for a competition entry to ask for:
- Your name;
- Phone number;
- Email or Instagram handle; and
- Your competition entry (such as your written paragraph about why you are the best fundraising committee in Australia!)
Do you have questions about participating in safe online competitions? Get in touch with Australian Fundraising! Submit the contact form below, or contact our friendly team on 1300 133 022 today.