Are Online Competitions Genuine?

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A common question which people ask when they start to enter online competitions is “Are the prizes really sent out to people, or is it just a scam to get marketing information?”  Luckily most competitions are genuine and people really do win fantastic prizes, including life-changing sums of money, every day. 

That said it’s always wise to be careful when giving out personal information online, so if you’re unsure about a site offering a competition then don’t enter.  To help you decide whether a competition you’ve found is genuine, consider the following suggestions.

Enter free competitions UK wide

Competitions run by UK companies are subject to UK law and regulation.  It’s also possible to easily do a quick search and see if the company is registered with Companies House and where its address might be.  All these features provide additional safeguards for consumers and give added reassurance when you enter online competitions.

Foreign competitions often operate under different regulations and laws; even if they are genuine, it may be the case that only people from that country can submit valid entries, or prizes will not be dispatched to overseas destinations.  If in doubt, stick with UK based competitions.

Chose well-known names

Brand names, national media and well-established websites are usually the best places to find genuine competitions.  

If you regularly come across products from a manufacturer in your supermarket, or perhaps have used their goods in the past, you can be pretty confident that when you enter free online competitions run by that company, you’re probably entering a properly run contest.

A useful general guide for those new to comping is to enter online competitions which are on a company’s own website or social media page, rather than entering through a third party site, unless a link is provided which takes you directly to the manufacturer’s online presence.

Watch out for closing dates

Almost invariably when you enter free competitions online they will be time-limited.  Major competitions may run for a few months, or even a year, but these are usually organised by universally recognised brands.

Smaller competitions may only be open for a few weeks or months.

If a competition has a closing date several years in the future, or doesn’t have a closing date at all, then caution is required.  Sometimes (but not always) these competitions can be set up to collect personal information rather than as a genuine contest.

Like any other online activity, when you enter online competitions it’s important to take reasonable steps to protect your personal information.  By following the suggestions above, in addition to dedicating a specific email address just to your comping activity, it’s possible to enjoy entering competitions safely and enjoyably.  Don’t forget that most competitions are well regulated and offer a chance to scoop some welcome wins, so there’s no reason not to enter a few and see if you get lucky.


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