Are You For Real? 5 Reasons People Don’t Claim Their Prizes

We get this all the time.

Are you for real?

Is this a scam?

Makes me think of the book, “Are You My Mother?” In the story a baby bird hatches while his mother is away and has no idea what to do. He asks everyone from a dog to a plane to finally a steam shovel before he finally finds her. He has no idea what he is looking for – and he gets close to real danger before he finally finds the real deal.


Just like that baby bird, our world is full of scams and fakes it may be hard for us to tell what the real deal is. People are bombarded every day with spam emails and sales calls, and it is hard to tell the real thing from the frauds. We understand that. But don’t discount what IS the real deal.

If you get a call or an email that you are a winner do not automatically assume that it is a scam. Check it out and do your research because it may be a legitimate winner notification. We see people forfeit prizes every day – and many promotions have unclaimed prizes – all because people do not do their research to know that their email or call from Marden-Kane, or another valid promotion agency, is the real deal!

5 Reasons People Don’t Claim Their Prizes

1.       I Never Win Anything

Did you enter the contest or sweepstakes? If you entered then there is a chance you will win. It happens! If you remember entering then don’t discount a call or email. Check it out for validity. This may be your lucky day!

2.       I Didn’t Even Enter!

There are some promotions that you are entered into simply for belonging to a Rewards program or using your credit card. Ask for a copy of the Official Rules so you can see if you there is a way you could have been entered without even knowing.

3.       Why Isn’t the Brand Contacting Me Directly?

Look in the Official Rule to see who the sponsor and the administrator of the promotion are. Sponsors are the big brands, like Starbucks or Microsoft, and the promotion administrator is the company they hire to run the promotion. Prizes are awarded by one of those two entities. Frequently it is the administrator, like Marden-Kane,  who will contact you and work with you to claim a prize. Ask for a copy of the rules or for a link to them so you can confirm the identity of the promotion administrator.

4.       If You Are Asking for My Social Security Number It Must be a Scam

Not so fast! The IRS requires that a 1099 be filed for any winner that is awarded any prize in the over $600 in value. That means that your Social Security number must be collected. And don’t even think about providing a false number or you could get in trouble with the IRS. Don’t be alarmed that you have to complete tax forms to collect a prize, but do be aware of how they the promotion administrator will collect and store that data. If you are being asked to provide a social security number online make sure the prize you are winning is OVER $600 and that the form you are filling out is secure. It is also OK to ask how the data will be protected once you provide it.

5.       Why Are You Telling Me I Am A Potential Winner? You Must Just Want to Sell Me Something.

When prizes are awarded you are always considered a potential winner until you complete all necessary paperwork. If you don’t do the paperwork then your prize gets forfeited and it goes to another potential winner. Potential doesn’t mean you haven’t won – it just means you have to complete the paperwork to confirm everything. Sometimes this means having paperwork notarized by a registered Notary Public and having paperwork be returned by a specific date. Again, check the Official Rules to see what paperwork is required for you to complete in order to claim your prize – and then complete it in a timely manner. If these things aren’t done you risk forfeiting your prize.

Now that you know what to look for when being contacted about being a potential winner, how can you tell if you are contacted about winning a promotion administered by Marden-Kane? Look for the following:

  • The email or call you get will come from a Marden-Kane employee or email address. Our email addresses are always from or Our main phone numbers are 516-365-3999 or 847-283-0441 and our fax number are 516-365-5250 or 847-283-0442. If you have any questions you can contact us directly at either number or at
  • If we ask for your social security number in conjunction with a prize it will only be for a prize over $600 and either online on a secure form or by providing a w-9 IRS Tax form. All data is also stored securely and destroyed when it is no longer needed. For more information see our Privacy  Policy.
  • The paperwork required for you to complete will be provided to you when you are contacted about being a potential winner. These might include travel releases, tax forms, statements of eligibility or something else. A date for completion will also be included so you know exactly when all paperwork must be back to us. Call or email us with any questions – a direct contact will always be listed.

Now that you know how to spot the real deal from the scams — good luck! We hope we will be contacting you soon!