Free is good, as long as there are no cyber strings attached. There’s a wealth of free products (both sample and full size) to be had via online venues. Manufacturers are more than glad to give away free products in hopes of winning loyal, new customers, but even though you’re not paying for the products, the old adage of ‘buyer be ware’ still applies. It’s not only product manufacturers that know we love free stuff, scam artists will phish and use dummy sites to garner our contact information then bombard us with spam emails in an attempt to separate us from our money or commit identity theft. Protect yourself from scams while loading up on free products with these tips.
The product manufacturer’s website is the safest place to visit to find freebies. The company’s partner sites are the second best and trusted sources for freebies and product information. There are also trusted websites that are dedicated to listing freebies, printable coupons and manufacturer’s rebates.
If the website asks for too much information (TMI), leave without the freebie. The only pertinent information for scoring a free product is your name, mailing address, phone number and possibly your email address. Anything beyond that is a phishing scam.
Even free products come with attached fine print that should be read before filling out the information form. Some companies want to sell or otherwise use your contact information in exchange for giving away a free product. Read the fine print first.
New, Old or Fake
Has the website been updated recently? Have any comments been placed on the website in the past few months? Does it have a Facebook page or can you follow them on Twitter? If the answer is two or more ‘nos’, the freebie website is old and out-of-service or it’s a fake. Look for sites that are current, fresh and have recent comments.
Does the webpage contain broken links, bad graphics or misspelled words? Any of these are red flags warning you to not put in your information. Google the website and the domain owner and read legitimate reviews from fellow freebie hunters.
If an unsolicited ad pops up while you’re visiting a freebie website or an email offering you a free product arrives, don’t open either one. The lure of getting a free product is strong, but don’t be tempted when the offer has come in from an unsolicited source.