The Problem With Shopping Mall Car Giveways

Lois Center-Shabazz

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Going shopping or are you being shopped, that is the question? But that may be the case if you fall into prize scams in exchange for your valuable personal information, such as your name, address, email address, and phone number. If you do fall prey to this type of marketing, expect to see your mailbox fill to the brim in the coming months after the promotion.

Have you ever registered to win a car at a shopping mall? Have you given all of the information they ask for? Did it ever occur to you that the addresses they collect by the thousands are more valuable than the car you are registering to win?

I have seen many car giveaways in local shopping malls asking shoppers to give names, addresses and other personal information to enter their drawing. But I have never seen a winner. Have you ever seen a winner announced in your local newspaper or television broadcast.

According to consumer groups this draws suspicion on the mall drawings, and maybe that is because the car is really never given away. Some consumer groups say they have evidence that cars are not given away.

Major corporations sell their mailing list for cash. I called a friend of mine who works in an industry where customers have to give their name, address, and phone number to use their service. He told me his company collects thousands of names and sells the information for large cash payments. I had to assure him I would keep his company name confidential in exchange for this information.

There are times when I have to fill out information to register a product or buy a magazine subscription, so I list my name in a particular fashion. Then I pay close attention to my junk mail before I toss it in the trash. I often notice the same form of my name showing up on many new pieces of junk mail after a registration.

Now, back to the shopping mall car give away. If you are inclined to give out your personal information to win a car, despite the evidence that you haven't seen one that has been given away, watch your junk mail and remember the way you listed your name. Perhaps the next time you see prizes and contest of any kind you will think twice before eagerly giving away your personal information.

Lois Center-Shabazz is the author of the 3-time award winning book, Let's Get Finanacial Savvy! ISBN# 0971979502, and the founder of the critically acclaimed personal finance website,


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