If your time was actually worth something to advertisers and websites, just how much should you have made by now? There are companies all over the internet claiming to be paying out thousands – even millions – of dollars, and all you have to do is play some games. Or fill out this form. Or reply to this email.
Of course we can’t lump all the bad in with the good. There are many very legitimate contests and opportunities online to win money or prizes through games and surveys. But it seems for every legitimate opportunity there are hundreds of scams – many of which seem like very real contests, often with years of history behind them.
But here’s the question – have we ever heard of anyone actually winning millions of dollars or even thousands of dollars from an online contest? Perhaps it’s not as easy to win as the sites would have us believe.
At least this is the case for one man in Massachusetts. He got fed up one day with all of the junk mail he’d been receiving and went to clear out his email accounts. As he was working through his inbox, his spam folder and his trash folder, getting his account cleared, he noticed something shocking.
He was getting at least twenty emails per day from a single contest. He had never signed up for the contests and had never played any of the games, yet here he was spending hours getting rid of the messages about them. He had even marked the contest website as being spam (since they were spamming him), and the site continued to bypass his email’s filters through clever tricks.
Twenty messages per day. He needed to do something about this. Obviously he couldn’t block the emails since he’d tried that many times, and it was frankly shocking to be dealing with this same company twenty times per day. So he called the company.
It was his plan to have the company remove him from their mailing list. He waited and finally was able to speak to someone on the phone. During the course of the conversation, the customer service representative kept turning the call back around to winning – if the man cancelled his account he couldn’t win! Did he want to win money? Of course he did!
No matter how many times he told the customer service rep to cancel his account or remove his email, she smoothly changed the subject, evaded the topic and ultimately keep right on spamming his inbox with contest entries. So he’s right back to gnashing his teeth and deleting entries as they appear.
Of course there are worse things than annoying emails. While one man gets spammed with opportunities to try and win money, another in Ohio actually received a phone call that he had won money from this same company.
Excited, he spoke with the representative on the phone for a bit, and was told that the prize patrol would be bringing by his second place earnings soon. Then the representative hung up. The man was a bit puzzled, so he called the number back to get some more information.
When he called he didn’t reach a friendly receptionist. He reached a lawyer’s office that tried to help him save taxes and then hung on him. Three times. Frustrated the man gave it all up as a lost cause and tried to move on. It’s hard to never hear positive news, but it’s much harder to get scammed after twenty years of waiting for the phone call. He can only hope that he isn’t now the victim of identity theft.