How to Stop Getting Spammed When You Enter Sweepstakes

Keep Your Inbox Clear of Spam and Junk Emails

Image of a shield protecting 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. 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. And you can make a point to check that address frequently to ensure you never miss a win notice.

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 from receiving marketing emails. You won't lower your chances of winning if you opt out, 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, knowing your information won't be abused. This will stop you from receiving spammy 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. Be careful when using spam filters to ensure that your win notifications aren't being sorted into the trash. Phrases like "win" and "free" set off many 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 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.

By taking these simple steps, you can continue to find legitimate emails and notifications of sweepstakes prizes without being overwhelmed by a flood of spam.