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Beware McDonald’s Monopoly Trading Scams

The McDonald’s Monopoly [3] game is one of the biggest company-sponsored contests out there. Each year, millions play the game, millions win, and it’s become a bit of a magnet for scammers. One of the things that always happens is that our post discussing How to Win the McDonald’s Monopoly Game [3] garners a ton of comments and we try our best to weed out the scammers. Unfortunately, due to the sheer volume of comments, we can’t keep an eye on everything (and we can’t see what happens off the site), so I wanted to put together a brief guide to avoiding scams.

It’s actually quite simple.

Don’t trade with anyone ever.

Why Shouldn’t We Trade?

You might be tempted to ask why we shouldn’t crowdsource, share pieces, and increase our odds of winning? Your odds don’t improve with crowdsourcing based on how the game is constructed. Each monopoly (set of properties) there is one rare piece. The most “common” of those pieces is Mediterranean Avenue and that’s 1 in 152.5 million. The common pieces are all like 1 in 11.

As I was writing this, I have entered around 150 codes from the 200 hash browns as part of our Mail-in vs. Hash Brown Challenge [4], and I’ve gotten all the common pieces at least once. In fact, I have at least three of each common piece.

If you have a rare piece, you can buy enough hash browns to get the common pieces you need. The most inexpensive prize is $1,000 and if you have Mediterranean Ave, you can buy enough hash browns until you get Baltic. If you have Vermone Ave for $5,000 – you can buy your way to victory with 100% assurances you won’t have to spend much to get there.

This Means All Traders Are Scammers

Or they just don’t know how the game works, which may be worse.

Top Prize is on a Big Mac

And just so you know, you can never find a Boardwalk without having Park Place right next to it and it only appears on a Big Mac. You will not get a Boardwalk on hash browns, medium drink, or through the mail. It’s in the rules:

(viii) Collect Park Place (#451) and Boardwalk (#452) to win a prize of One Million Dollars ($1,000,000*). Two (2) prizes are available (*payable $50,000/year for 20 years, without interest). The approximate odds of collecting Park Place are 1 in 11; the approximate odds of collecting Boardwalk are 1 in 602,490,060; the approximate odds of collecting the Winning Combination (Park Place and Boardwalk) are 1 in 3,050,412,898; the approximate odds of collecting the Winning Combination (Park Place and Boardwalk) found on Big Mac are 1 in 37,955,000.

So they don’t explicitly state that it’s together on a Big Mac but they don’t use those terms for any other prize. There have also been anecdotal stories about how the winners found both pieces together.

Rules Forbid Trading, Selling

Finally, if that wasn’t enough, the rules forbid the trading and selling of game pieces:

The purchase, sale, trading, or barter of Game Pieces, Game Stamps, FREE Codes or Game Codes via online or live auctions, or any other method, does not constitute Legitimate Channels and is expressly prohibited.

So in theory, if they somehow figured out you traded or purchased the common game piece, you could potentially lose your prize. It would be terrible to lose $1,000 because you paid someone $5 for their Baltic.

We hope this was useful and enjoy the game!

(Credit: Keoni Cabral [5])