When to Use Your Real Birthdate in a Sweepstakes

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Many giveaways require applicants to disclose their birthdate as part of their entry. And there’s been talk of people worried about giving the real date. Sharing personal information online is scary doing so might put us at risk for identity theft. So providing a false birthdate might be tempting — but in trying to get to the bottom of this debate, we learned the scariest thing of all: providing a false birthdate could disqualify you from winning.

Takeaway:

To avoid being disqualified or penalized in a giveaway, all entry information must be true and accurate. This includes providing a correct birthdate. There are ways to increase the safety of entering online sweepstakes without resorting to providing a false birthdate.

So Why Do They Ask?

Birthdates are mostly used to verify age. But collecting birthdates can also give brands valuable information about the target audience for advertising, product creation and future giveaways. They want to know if their product is connecting with people of a certain age group, so they ask for a birthdate. And who knows, maybe out there somewhere there might even be a company that uses astrology in their marketing efforts!

Think Twice About a Fake Birthdate

It’s common to feel nervous about sharing a birthdate online, but providing false information isn’t a great idea either. If you want to win, including all required information is non-negotiable.

Past sweepstakes winners will tell you that many sponsors require a notarized affidavit before they will hand over your prize. A whole slew of personal information is required on the affidavit, including your birthdate. The notary and sponsor will check to make sure all information is correct and matches the original entry — and if they don’t match … well, you’re out.

Providing false information will almost certainly result in loss of winnings. Skipping the birthdate box altogether typically isn’t possible since entry forms are built to block submission when required forms are omitted, and mail-in forms will be discarded if incomplete.

Remember, they’re trading this chance to win for information they need in order to grow their brand. Not paying up with the info means they’re not obligated to give you the thing you want: the chance to win.

Is Providing a Birthdate Risky?

There are some things that can be done to mitigate the risk associated with including a real birthdate:

  • Watch out for sweepstakes that don’t require a full birthdate. Some brands only want a birth year.
  • Before entering any giveaway, carefully review the privacy policy provided. Legitimate giveaways will outline exactly what is being done to keep participant information secure. Don’t enter any contest with unclear practices, and know what is being done with your birthdate.
  • Enter giveaways sponsored by well-known brands with trustworthy reputations.

While there are certain risks that come with sharing personal information online, most sweepstakes companies take security very seriously.  And the birthdate is really only a problem in combination with other information that sweeps never ask for, like your mother’s maiden name. Try not to stress — this is supposed to be fun. Unless an entry form requires an unusual amount of private information, there’s no reason to feel fearful about providing the basics.