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Subscription traps

Scammers advertise a free trial of a product, or a free gift upon completion of a survey they've provided. In order to receive this product you'll be asked to provide a credit card number to cover shipping and handling.

Means of contact

  • Internet
Description of scam
Using online advertising, scammers promote free trials of a products, or upon completion of a survey, you will receive a gift. These are ways to grab attention but the products are just the lure. The real scam involves getting you to register and then using your credit card to charge future "subscription" fees that can end up costing thousands of dollars. It can be very difficult to stop the delivery and billing of these scams.

Tactics used
  • Free offers and gifts in exchange for responding to a survey
  • High-pressure sales tactics
  • Urgent limited-time offers
Additional information
  1. Trust your instincts. Be skeptical. If it’s too good to be true, don’t sign up.

  2. Before you sign up for a free trial, research the company and read reviews. If there are cases of fraud, the Better Business Bureau can be a valuable  source of information.

  3. Read the fine print. Don’t sign up if you can’t find or understand the terms and conditions. Pay special attention to pre-checked boxes, cancellation clauses, return policies, and any unspecified charges.

  4. If you go ahead with a free trial, keep all documents, receipts, emails, and text messages.

  5. Check your credit card statements frequently for repeated or unknown charges.

  6. If you have trouble cancelling your subscription, contact your credit card provider, your local consumer protection organization, or law enforcement agencies.

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