Beware of ‘free sample’-fraud when shopping online

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Net Patrol International Inc.  Data Investigation and Forensic Services
Bankruptcy and Insolvency Trustees

A Winnipeg man is warning people about an online scam he fell victim to last week, CTV reports. Dennis Mazur, 67, said it all started with an ad on Facebook from what seemed to be a familiar company. He soon learned it was something completely different. 

Unknowingly agreeing to monthly subscription

Other victims tell about similar scams that they have encountered online. A Calgary resident reports at the Better Business Bureau: “Before you even receive the product they charge your card for the full amount. And they continue charging your card, because without knowing you have enrolled a monthly subscription of their product. I was charged over $500 in a three week period for what I thought was a free sample.” Another victim from Montreal writes at BBB that he saw a Facebook add offering a free sample of a product called Instantly Ageless. “I was curious and the company only asked me for the shipping fees, so I started filling out the shipment form. Exactly 14 days later, I saw that a financial transaction had been done for $156 on my credit card without my consent” (BBB Scam Tracker).

Avoid acting impulsively and do your research

People see a brand that they trust and get lured into trying out a sample. They give their credit card information to cover a small shipping charge and end up roped into a high-priced monthly subscription. Victims can stop the shipments by notifying their credit card issuers, but may be denied a refund because they didn’t read the fine print (read more). Ellen Roseman advises: “The key to fraud prevention is to avoid acting impulsively. Build in time to reflect and research before clicking a link or giving personal information to a persuasive but pushy criminal.”

Canadian Fraud News Inc.