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Are Reader's Digest Sweepstakes Scams?


Reader's Digest Sweepstakes are Not Scams - But Scammers Sometimes Misuse the RD Name.

Reader's Digest Sweepstakes are Not Scams - But Scammers Sometimes Misuse the RD Name.

© Reader's Digest, used with permission.
Question: Are Reader's Digest Sweepstakes Scams?
Are Reader's Digest's sweepstakes scams? I've seen Reader's Digest offering some nice prizes, but I've rarely heard of anyone winning. Is it worthwhile entering RD sweepstakes, or are they just frauds?
Answer: No, Reader's Digest's sweepstakes are not scams. Reader's Digest is a legitimate company that offers a variety of sweepstakes every year. Reader's Digest is famous for big, million-dollar creative presentation sweepstakes that are advertised online and through direct mail. These sweepstakes have very long odds (their Million Dollar Payday Grand Prize Sweepstakes (#908) offered odds of 1 in 49.5 million). But even though the odds of winning are as long as many lotteries, but they have a big advantage over lotteries -- you don't have to pay to enter.

Aside from the million-dollar giveaway, Reader's Digest also offers other sweepstakes, many of which have better odds.

Why Haven't I Heard of Any Reader's Digest Winners?

With millions of entries into the millon-dollar sweepstakes and only one big winner per giveaway, it's not surprising if you don't know a winner, even if you've been entering for years. However, Reader's Digest posts information about their winners on their website.

I have heard reports from winners of other Reader's Digest giveaways. See Cheri B's response to my What Did You Win in October, 2010? post for an example.

Sweepstakes Scams in Reader's Digest's Name

Although legitimate Reader's Digest sweepstakes are not scams, the Reader's Digest name is sometimes abused by sweepstakes scammers. Like Publishers Clearing House, Microsoft, Heineken, and other big companies, scammers send letters or emails that claim to come from Reader's Digest, but are actually just a front for fraud. Reader's Digest is not behind these emails, even if they appear to be official.

How to Tell Whether a Reader's Digest Win is a Scam

If you receive a win notification from Reader's Digest sweepstakes, follow my tips for identifying the Warning Signs of Sweepstakes Scams before responding. Some important questions to ask yourself include:
  • Do I remember entering this sweepstakes?
  • Does the win notification come from a legitimate Reader's Digest email address? Or if it came by mail, did it come regular or registered mail (higher chance of being legitimate), or did it have bulk rate postage (higher chance of being a scam)?
  • Is the sender asking for money, a credit card number, or a bank account number? (See the Things that Aren't Signs of Sweepstakes Scams to see what's normal when you win sweepstakes).
If you still aren't sure, you can try to contact Reader's Digest directly to verify your win, or ask for opinions in the Sweepstakes Scams section of the Sweepstakes Forum.

Where to Find Legitimate Reader's Digest Sweepstakes

Reader's Digest offers sweepstakes in countries around the world. Here are some of the sites for RD sweepstakes: For other areas, check your local Reader's Digest website.

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