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Watch out for these subscription traps

Good deals can bait you into falling for expensive traps

A subscription trap can trick you by offering “free” or “low‑cost” trials of products and services. Products commonly offered are weight loss pills, health foods, pharmaceuticals, or anti-aging products. Once you provide your credit card information to cover shipping costs, you are unknowingly locked into a monthly subscription. Delivery and billing can then be difficult, if not almost impossible, to stop.

Scammers use websites, emails, social media platforms, and phones to reel people in. Remember, offers that seem too good to be true are often designed to rush you into making a decision.

Tips to protect yourself

  1. Trust your instincts. 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. The Better Business Bureau is a great source of information.

  3. 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 vague charges.

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

  5. Regularly check your credit card statements for frequent 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.


Discover other common scams at our fraud prevention centre:  

If you suspect a scam, report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (1.888.495.8501). Learn how to protect yourself online with these tips.

Source: The Little Black Book of Scams, Second Edition, Competition Bureau Canada, 2018

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