Have you ever come across a one-time entry giveaway with a great prize, and entered it... only to realize you'd entered the same sweep a few weeks earlier? Did you ruin your chance of winning? Will you be disqualified?
The answer is a resounding: "maybe."
Cheating Versus Mistakes
Of course, you shouldn't try to cheat by over-entering on purpose. Aside from being unethical, entering more often than the sweepstakes rules allow won't increase your chances of winning.
These duplicate entries are easy for the sweepstakes' sponsors to find and remove during their entry verification process.
And it's easy to see when someone is ignoring the rules versus making a rare mistake. When you are clearly trying to cheat, your chances of having all your entries disqualified are higher.
If you want to be a winner, you should read the rules carefully and be sure to follow them. It's important to be clear about how often you can legally enter before you start. If you're not sure what a term in the rules means, check out this guide to sweepstakes entry restrictions for more information.
But everybody makes mistakes sometimes. Perhaps you forgot you had entered the sweepstakes, or the deadline was extended and you entered again thinking it was a new giveaway, or maybe you simply clicked the "submit" button twice by accident.
The best way to avoid disqualification for duplicate entries is to be meticulous in how often you enter. A good sweepstakes strategy can help you keep better track of what you've already entered so that you can avoid mistakes.
For example, setting up a bookmark system in your internet browser makes it easy to double-check whether you have entered a giveaway or not, while also reminding you when it's time to enter daily, weekly, and monthly sweepstakes again.
But What If You've Already Entered Too Often?
If you have already made a mistake and entered more often than the rules allow, have you wasted your time entering? Will you be disqualified and lose any chance to win? Well, sometimes.
Sweepstakes sponsors have two ways of handling duplicate entries: they either disqualify all entries made by the offender, or they only count the first entry made.
Of course, if more entries are allowed, sponsors have more options. With daily sweepstakes, for example, the sponsor can choose to disqualify the entrant from the entire sweepstakes, disqualify all entries made that day, or discard all entries made after the first.
If the sponsor chooses to discard only the entries that exceed their entry limits, you still have a shot at winning.
How can you tell which method the sweepstakes sponsor uses? Check the rules to see if they have the answer. If the rules don't mention how duplicate entries are handled, you need to cross your fingers or contact the sponsor directly to ask.
What to Do If You Can't Remember If You Entered or Not:
OK, what if you are considering entering a giveaway that looks familiar... but you can't remember if you have already entered or not?
Your web browser might have the answer. Search for the sweepstakes' website in your browser history to see if you've visited the page in the recent past. If so, there's a good chance you've already entered and you can skip entering again.
If that doesn't help, and you really have no idea if you entered or not... well, if you don't have an entry, you have no chance of winning. That's no worse than what will happen if you get disqualified. So there's not much risk in trying again.
If it's a daily-entry giveaway that you are considering entering, the safest route is to just skip that day's entry. Having ALL of your entries disqualified isn't worth the risk of getting one more entry. But before you decide, check the rules to see if they list their disqualification guidelines.
Want More Information About Winning Sweepstakes?
Want to read about other things that could be preventing you from winning sweepstakes? Read these top reasons why you're not winning more often.
Want some great chances to win right now? Check out my sweepstakes directory to find the prizes you want to win.
And if you're just getting started, read my tips on entering sweepstakes like a pro. Good luck!