Why You Should Never Go Public With a Win

I began by sharing this story on my Facebook Page. By the time it hit Buzzfeed I knew it needed a full post as I felt a wee rant coming on. (Story on CBC with audio interview.)

Stolen Winning Cup

It’s wrong that Margaret Coward had her prize stolen out from under her. As a contestor I can appreciate her excitement when she rolled and won. That’s exactly why she shared her joy on Facebook. Margaret wanted her friends to know.

Margaret was shocked when one of her ‘friends’ claimed the prize ahead of her. Sadly, I am not shocked. Even people you believe you know well can surprise you with their behavior.

I learned a long time ago, after I was attacked by Internet trolls, to stop posting my wins online. Currently, as I am so busy and my daily entries have virtually stopped, when I do win I thank the sponsor publicly via social media. I have noticed posting small wins far and few between keep the friends supportive and the trolls away.

However, I would never post a win before I claimed my prize because until you claim it, legally you have not won. Thankfully, Tim Horton’s is making it right, but legally they don’t have to.

Powerball Winners

It’s also why I was shocked when one of the three winning Powerball ticket holders went on TV before claiming the prize! In my mind they were just asking to be mugged or killed.

That leaves me with two questions for you:

  1. Do you trust your Facebook friends?
  2. Have you ever announced you won before you claimed the prize?
2016-12-26T21:50:16+00:00February 24th, 2016|Contesting, Sweepstaking|5 Comments

About the Author:

Carolyn Wilman (aka @ContestQueen) is a Digital Marketing Strategist and Sweepstakes Specialist. Carolyn teaches others how to Find, Organize, Enter and Win giveaways along with working with companies to create, and viral market, winning promotions maximizing ROI and loyal customers.


  1. Darlene Schuller March 6, 2016 at 11:21 pm - Reply

    I don’t think I have that kind of blind trust in anyone, not even ‘some’ family… I’d never go public about a win until ‘confirmation’.. I know sometimes it’s very exciting, especially for someone who doesn’t contest on a regular basis.

  2. Ladyb March 7, 2016 at 10:26 am - Reply

    Trolls are a pain. I haven’t won much lately but I do know people who still win lots and they have also stopped posting all their wins for the same reason. I wait to post a win until I have it in hand in case there are any problems with the company/shipping.

    If it was a big win, like a lottery, I definitely wouldn’t say anything before I had the cash in the bank. I would wait long enough to claim to ensure I had my ducks in a row – financial planner in place, contingency plan, change phone numbers, etc.

  3. Jason Block March 7, 2016 at 10:28 am - Reply

    Here’s the correct and only way to do it. You have to VAGUEBOOK. I learned this via OLS. Until the paperwork is in hand, or you got the confirmation email – the prize is not yours. And you may have glitches(see the recent Tito’s Vodka Yoga Mat and Bottle), so you have to be careful as well.

  4. Christina Zawadiwsky March 7, 2016 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    I would never announce a win before I claimed a prize – and if it were a larger prize, I’d even wait until I received it!

  5. Joey B April 3, 2016 at 8:52 am - Reply

    Isn’t it terrible that people do this? I mean, steal from others. Yes, she shouldn’t have posted it, but that is still terrible. I wonder if they were able to catch the person that did claim the prize?
    I’m always worried about when someone wins a social media prize, and the host announces it in a tweet /post and asks the winner to email them. Those shady people could just email in your place. Contact info should be dm’d, imo.

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