Raffles at County Fairs, State Fairs & Carnivals - should you sign up?
With fall comes the arrival of county fairs, state fairs, carnivals and other similar events. While these events are fun for the whole family, remember to protect yourself while there. Not only should you watch your pocketbook and keep tabs on your cash, you might also want to take care when signing up for “sweepstakes”, “raffles” or other “giveaways”.
When you sign up for a “raffle” or enter a drawing, you are sharing personal information. Although common, you have a right and responsibility to ask why certain information is needed and how it will be used.
“If it is not disclosed to you how your information is going to be used, ask. If you are not satisfied with the answer, walk away,” says Janna Kiehl, CEO of the BBB.
Some “entry forms” carry a disclaimer giving the company permission to call you even though you may have signed up for the do not call registry. Other fine print on the entry form may indicate that the “raffle” is not really a giveaway or may disclose other information you were not aware of.
The Charitable Raffle Enabling Act permits only qualified organizations to hold raffles, with certain restrictions. Qualified organizations include, nonprofit organizations under 501(c)(3) of the IRS code in existence for three years prior to the raffle, volunteer fire departments, volunteer medical emergency services and religious organizations which have been in existence in Texas for a minimum of ten (10) years.
Your good name is something you’ve worked hard to get, don’t give it away frivolously.
Three simple ways to protect your good name:
- Exercise caution when sharing personal information.
- Be mindful of what you’re agreeing to and make wise decisions regarding the use of your personal information.
- Ask questions before signing anything and if you still don’t mind sharing your name and phone number, go ahead. But NEVER share bank account numbers, your Social Security number, your driver’s license number or credit card numbers or anything that can be used to steal your identity.