How to Enter Sweepstakes Without Getting Spammed

Junk Mail? Spam? No Way! Learn to Guard Your Privacy While Entering Sweepstakes

Image of a shield protecting your inbox from spam.
Follow these tips to protect your inbox from spam. Image (c) Huan Tran / Ikon Images / Getty Images

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by spam and wish you could stop getting so many emails? If you enter sweepstakes, you will receive emails. Some of those emails you'll really want to get, but others will be unwanted newsletters, marketing updates, and spam. If you're getting tons of marketing emails, it is tempting to simply ignore your sweepstakes email rather than wading through it all. But if you do, you could miss win notifications and forfeit fantastic sweepstakes prizes.

However, entering sweepstakes doesn't automatically mean that your inbox has to be an overwhelming monster. You can easily ensure that you are only receiving a few emails a day, most of which are entry confirmations and win notifications. Follow these tips to stop getting so much spam.

1. Set Up a Dedicated Email Account for Entering Sweepstakes

This is the most important step in keeping your sweepstakes mail manageable. If you set up a free email address to use just for your sweepstakes entries, you can easily pinpoint which spam emails are coming from sweeping.

That way, if you get overwhelmed, you can simply dump the old account and start using a new address without worrying about contacting all of your friends and family with the new contact information.

2. Read the Privacy Policy Before Entering Any Giveaways

Legitimate giveaways have a good privacy policy that describes how the sponsoring company will use the information that they gather. Think twice about entering sweepstakes that don't have a privacy policy or that state that they will sell or rent personal information that they gather.

3. Opt Out from Receiving Newsletters on Entry Forms

Many sweepstakes give you the chance to opt in or opt out of receiving additional information from the sweepstakes sponsors and their marketing partners.

If you are interested in this information, by all means, opt in. After all, helping the sponsors meet their marketing goals will encourage them to offer more sweepstakes.

Otherwise, be sure to opt out of receiving marketing emails. You won't lower your chances of winning, but you'll reduce the spam you receive.

4. Unsubscribe from Newsletters You Don't Want

Many people are afraid to unsubscribe from unwanted email for fear that it will cause them to receive more spam. An unsubscribe confirms that the email address is active, and unscrupulous companies can sell this information to spammers. So it's a good idea to avoid unsubscribing from random spam emails.

However, if you know that the email address came from a reputable company because you entered their giveaway, you can go ahead and unsubscribe. This will stop you from receiving unwanted offers and reduce the overload in your inbox.

5. Report the Spam You Receive

Government agencies do regulate spam, but they can't stop it if they don't know about it. You can help by reporting the spam email that you receive. (Note: Please do NOT report newsletters from legitimate companies. Simply unsubscribe as described above. Here are a few places you can report spam:

6. Use Email Addresses that Filter Spam

Many email programs filter spam for you. That can cause problems with spam filters that sort your win notifications into the trash.

Phrases like "win" and "free" set off spam filters, so it's a good idea to check your spam folders regularly and remove any legitimate emails that have been improperly filtered.

7. Use a Forwarding Telephone Number

Some sweepstakes sponsors will contact you by telephone to try to tell you more about their products or services. This can be a hassle, but you don't want to give out an incorrect phone number on your entry forms, since many sponsors contact winners by phone.

Entering sweepstakes without using your home phone number can help you manage these calls.

You can use a telephone number that forwards directly to your own phone. This allows you to easily block numbers that call you too frequently. As with sweepstakes emails, you can also change a forwarding number if you start receiving too many marketing calls. Plus, you'll know that any calls you receive are sweepstakes-related.

By the way, if you're in the United States, it's a good idea to make sure that you are on the national do not call registry. Companies must abide by the rules of the do not call list, even if you enter their sweepstakes.

8. Use Anti-Spam Programs

Adding an anti-spam program to your sweepstakes email can cut down on the amount of junk mail that you receive. A good anti-spam program learns to filter email intelligently, helping to ensure that you receive win notifications while keeping out the emails that you don't need.

Altogether, these eight simple steps help keep you from getting too much unwanted mail. They let you continue to enter sweepstakes without being overwhelmed by a flood of spam.