Wednesday, October 19, 2011

BEWARE: Freebie Scams on the Rise

I know we get all excited when we see the word FREE.

Let's face it we all love FREE!

But, we want to ask you to be VERY careful when it comes to giving information. Here's a couple rules of thumb to watch out for:

  1. If it says FREE* beware the "*". Look for fine print on the page.
  2. Be careful with verbage such as "after completed offers". Many of these will read something along the lines of "One Bronze, One Silver, and One Gold offer must be completed" to receive FREE toothpaste sample. Many of these offers require a purchase or credit card application.
  3. Look for "with purchase" verbage. Know what you are getting into BEFORE you commit.
  4. Look for reputation. Research the offering company.
  5. Don't offer answers to overly intrusive questions. Some companies may ask you to complete a short survey about your buying habits or perhaps your demographics. This is typical as they try to research their customer base. You should never give your credit information to receive a free sample.
  6. If the product has nothing to do with the website, question why it is being given away. Some may give away a product that carries their logo to advertise but if you must apply for a credit card to get a $50 restaurant gift card "sponsored by Red Lobster" i.e. then I say walk away
  7. If the freebie comes from a "pop-up" close the window! Don't give info! Pop-ups often contain viruses, phishing scams or lead you to a completely different website than the freebie represents.
  8. Unsolicited e-mail or SPAM advertising a freebie should NEVER be opened. Your freebie could come in the form of a free computer virus, hence costing you TONS of money!
  9. Unless you are clearly entering a sweepstakes where only a few lucky winners get the grand prizes, companies don't just give away EXTREME gifts. So, if you've won your 10,000th car, Dell computer, or iPad and you're begged to "click here to claim your gift", be generous and let someone else claim the prize. The banners are meant to draw you to a phishing website.
We at Poor House Princess will always test each freebie offer before we post it. This is not a guarantee that the freebie is 100% each and every time. But we hope that you will feel reassured that we haven't posted something we haven't tried ourselves. Sometimes samples will run out and we never receive notice that it's not coming. Sometimes the websites are completely overwhelmed with response and just can't sustain the call for the freebie. Please understand these problems and move on to the next. The biggies are to pay close attention to the hints above. More than anything, trust yourself. If you don't feel right about it, don't sign-up for the freebie. Have fun, try new products but be safe. Protect yourself.

Updates on Facebook Scams:
Just about anything you're questioning including consumer goods: http//

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