SkyMiles Cruises contest wants my SS for a 1099?

Discussion in 'Delta Air Lines | SkyMiles' started by BeachMiles, Mar 21, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. BeachMiles
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    BeachMiles Gold Member

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    Is this a Scam ? ( edit: Not a Scam)
    I am a winner , or am I ? In order to send me my 100,000 Delta Sky Miles they want my Social Security number, so they can 1099 me for the $2,000 value. I know Skymiles are worth less that 2 cents each, but that's not my only concern. Is this a scam to get my SS number? has anyone else experienced this? Here is the emailI received: ( email came from a marketing company in FLL, not directly from Delta. )

    "Hello :

    Sorry for the inconvenience, this is the email you were supposed to receive.

    Between September and November 2010, you entered the “SkyMiles Cruises Million Miles Giveaway” at:
    http://www.skymilescruises.com/promotion/delta/millionmiles/default.asp.

    In case you don't remember, you were automatically entered when you put your, name, email address and Zip Code in the Delta "Cruise Deals Alerts" sign-up (http://www.skymilescruises.com/). We are the Sweepstakes Administrators (we wrote the Official Rules).

    You have been chosen as a First Prize winner, pending your completion of an Affidavit of Eligibility, Liability and Publicity Release we will send to you. In order to send you your Affidavit, we need your full name and mailing address.

    The prize is a 100,000 bonus miles awarded to your Skymiles account. The approximate value of the prize is $2,000.

    Please reply to this email by 3/22/2011 with your name and address or it will be concluded definitively that the prize has been declined and, without further notice, an alternative winner will be selected in random drawings.

    Please feel free to contact us with any questions during business hours, east coast time.

    Congratulations,"
     
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  2. DisneyDude
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    DisneyDude Active Member

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    I would give them name and address, then check out the company and address from which the materials are sent. If everything looks OK, THEN and only then would I send SS#. Remeber, if 100K is valued at $2k they DO have to submit 1099 form to IRS and need your SS# for that.
     
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  3. geoffco
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    geoffco Silver Member

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    There is an IRS form you can file with your taxes to dispute the value of goods received that you were 1099'd for. Definitely not my area of expertise, but I have read of this on various forums and personally know one individual that was successful (not audited :D) in is application of this approach.
     
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  4. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Your concerns are prudent.

    First, did you actually sign up for the program?

    Second, you might want to call DL to confirm their relationship with the marketing company.

    Finally, you could look up on internic.net to see who owns the domain the emails are coming from.

    The other thing you could do is put a slightly incorrect number down (transpose a few digits) on the w-9. Assuming you get the points as advertised, you could submit a corrected for W-9 (the form you use to submit your ssn to them). Even with an incorrect ssn, assuming they send the 1099 to your house, you can pick up the $2k of other income on your 1040 and include a copy of the 1099 with the incorrect ssn and add a note of clarification.

    Hopefully this is not a scam and congratulations are in order. Use your 100k points for a j ticket to Europe...you'll realize a value closer to 5 CPM!
     
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  5. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    I never would have guessed that miles awarded as a prize are considered to be taxable income when various bonus miles, including those from last spring's Together We Fly Delta promo, are not normally taxable income for purposes of the US Federal government. I also wonder where the two cents per mile valuation arose as I don't believe that DL transacts miles at this price when they are sold to other corporations, not do I believe that this is the current valuation on DL's books for their outstanding liabilities due to miles held by individuals. To me, this valuation is clearly unreasonable and I'd be interested in how it can possibly be justified. However IANAL and IANAA (I am not a lawyer and I am not an accountant).
     
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  6. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I believe it mostly has to do with who is issuing the miles and how they account for them to the feds. But it is not uncommon that they are considered a taxable item. Generally the fine print of the entry form will have the reported value on it.
     
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  7. BeachMiles
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    BeachMiles Gold Member

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    It seems fine. I am almost sure this is Not a scam. I've talked to people at SkyMiles Cruises. I have learned that a lot of Sweepstakes prizes go unclaimed , because winners don't want to give up their SS number.
    When the miles post , I will report.
     
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  8. monitor
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    monitor Gold Member

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    A message like that would put my antennae on high alert. It is most likely that I would have hit the "delete" button fairly quickly and if I blew the points, so be it. If the e-mail is not phishing, it will add 100k points that I hardly have time to use and create another income tax issue for me that I certainly do not need. If it is phishing, the consequences can be very grave.
     
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  9. CDKing
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    CDKing Gold Member

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    FWIW Sky Miles Cruises is listed as a partner to earn miles with. Just go to delta.com then click on Sky Miles > Earn Travel Miles with partners > Cruise & Vacation Partners or go to http://skymilesoffers.delta.com/vacation_cruise_partners.php Its the 6th one down. Go to that link and call them. I always like to follow the downline links from the source
     
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  10. PAinNY
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    PAinNY Silver Member

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    I like the idea of mixing up the SS # - it can always be corrected at a later date. Congratulations ..after you do some research you can enjoy the miles.
     
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  11. dgreen12
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    dgreen12 Silver Member

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    Don't submit a knowingly-incorrect SSN on the Form W-9. The fine print includes "under penalties of perjury, I certify....."

    If you're concerned about whether you actually won the prize, do your homework in advance and figure out whether you actually did or not. Then decide whether you want to claim the prize.

    Prizes and awards are taxable. Miles earned from spending on airline travel are not taxable under current law.

    FWIW, I'm a tax CPA with two law degrees.
     
  12. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    I also have credentials (CPA, etc)...but more importantly, practical experience. People make transposition errors all the time. Have you ever seen anyone get in any sort of trouble for an accidental W-9 typo which they correct in due course? I have not.

    My approach is a reasonable one in light of the uncertainty. As long as this taxpayer picks up the income at the end of the year, he'll have no issue whatsoever. If it's a fraud, he'll be protected.
     
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  13. dgreen12
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    dgreen12 Silver Member

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    And there's a difference between "knowingly-incorrect" and a "transposition error", which is why I used the language that I did. If you're advising someone to transpose the tax identification number, they're signing the perjury statement knowing that the TIN is incorrect. That can cause them a lot of problems. And problems for your errors and omissions insurance as well.

    I've got 29 years of practical experience, dealing with billionaires down to ordinary folks. I would never advise someone to transpose their TIN on a Form W-9. Do the homework ahead of time and figure out if it's legit or a scam.

    People don't get in trouble on big issues when there's an innocent mistake, the get into trouble on the little, but important stuff like perjury and lying to federal investigators. Ask Martha Stewart.
     
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  14. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    A celebrity lying about insider trading as part of an ongoing investigation and a promptly corrected typo on a W-9 (a form that never even goes to the service) are wildly different things.

    Although you cited even more impressive credentials, you didn't answer the question posed about actual experience with anyone getting in trouble on a corrected W-9. Is it safe to conclude that you are not aware of any trouble ever coming to someone from an erroneous W-9 which they promptly corrected and picked up the related income?
     
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  15. monitor
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    monitor Gold Member

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    dgreen12 is right, in spades. Those of us who actually are in business and actually do business know that one does not in any way, shape, or form, fool around with the Feds. You give them exactly what they want looking exactly the way they want it to look and you never have any trouble.

    You mess up on what they think that they want in any way, voluntary or involuntary, and there can be consequences that can cause mucho grief for you all the way down the road. Over the years you learn what you can and cannot do and where you can and cannot take wild swings at them but screwing up numbers (say, of your SS# or income$) is not one of those places.
     
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  16. BeachMiles
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    BeachMiles Gold Member

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    Well, I feel better now. The skymiles were deposited in my account today.

    Case Closed!
     
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  17. Wurm
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    Wurm Silver Member

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    My surprise in this story is that the Affidavit of Eligibility was sent (and executed) via e-mail. I would have thought that a "real" (on paper) signature would have been necessary
     
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  18. Seat1A
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    Seat1A Silver Member

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    the email said the affidavit was something "we will send you", and requests a full name and mailing address for that purpose. i went thru the same with UA a couple of years ago -- congratulatory email from UA, advising me that i would need to complete actual paperwork. (notarized, even!)

    fwiw, a number of people on another travel board contested the value of that UA prize, and are currently being audited. it seems several got audit notices in the last couple of months, and are just beginning the process, so no results yet. they took a clever approach to their calculated value -- they printed the red carpet club pricing page from united.com, and calculated a mileage value based on the price of a membership in both miles and dollars. if you're a DL PM, you can get a one-year skyclub membership for 40,000 miles or $300. that works out to $0.0075/mile, by delta's own math. as a general member, the rate is even better, at $0.0064. we'll soon learn if the IRS buys it. :)

    (i did not contest it -- when i decided to participate, i decided i was willing to pay the taxes on the ARV if i won, and i did so.)
     
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  19. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Great news.
     
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  20. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Leaving aside the differences of opinion on tackling the W-9, the concept of picking up a different valuation and subjecting your entire return to audit to save a few bucks in taxes, albeit perhaps morally satisfying, is not worth the time and effort. Even if you were to win on appeal, the investment of time (and its cost) required isn't worth it.

    Further, I just had a redemption worth over 9cpm...so if the Service were to look at my high-value redemption examples, they could back to the taxpayer and try to ascribe an even higher value! ;) (I think this is an unlikely scenario.)

    Good call.
     
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  21. BeachMiles
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    BeachMiles Gold Member

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    The affidavit was emailed to me. I had to print it out, notarize my signature and fax it back.
     
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  22. BeachMiles
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    BeachMiles Gold Member

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    I was not really concerned about the taxes on 100,000 Skymiles. my concern was more about revealing my ss# to strangers. If it had been a million miles , i would have been more concerned about the tax implications.
     
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