Have you ever passed up entering an enticing sweepstakes just because one of the entry requirements is giving out your phone number? These can be online contests but mail-in sweeps that require postcard entries make some people hesitant to place their phone number out there for everyone to see. Obtaining a Google Voice phone number will allow you to add a level of privacy to these types of entries.
Google Voice is available to Gmail account holders and is free at the basic level. It's a web-based application that allows you to make and receive calls by routing them from the Google Voice number to any other number you choose—home, work or mobile device.
For sweepstakers, you'll give the GV number to sponsors who ask for it to contact you about a prize win. Google has speech recognition software transcribe any message left and sends you an email of what it was. If you've ever used this type of software, you know it isn't perfect and may garble some of the words. I've never had a problem, however, with knowing who the calls are from and the return number is recorded by GV. You can actually listen to messages while they're being left too. You can then call back regarding a prize win from your home or other phone.
You don't have to limit your use of Google Voice to use for sweepstakes. I give my GV number instead of my home phone any place else I may want an alternative phone number such as credit card accounts or anywhere I believe might put my name and number on a sales list.
Google Voice isn't going to protect you completely from spammers and sales people. Entering certain sweepstakes will always have that disadvantage. There is also the issue of Google having your personal messages. This may not bother you if you're just using the number for sweepstakes entries. The best advantage of using Google Voice is that you can simply click delete when an unwanted call comes in.
It's easy to sign up. Just go to the Google Voice website and sign in to your Google account. From there just follow the prompts to sign up for Google Voice.