BBB warns of ‘free trial offer’ scams


SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — The Better Business Bureau has issued a warning about “free trial offer” scams.

With many people staying at home due to COVID-19 and spending more time on the internet, chances are they will encounter bogus scams.

BBB has received Scam Tracker reports that scammers are using social media to offer bogus free Netflix services.

To receive a fake pass, those clicking on a link may be directed to provide personal information and send the offer to friends. Scammers are likely phishing for personal and banking information or to distribute malware.

While celebrities, credit card companies and government agencies have increased their efforts to fight deceptive free trial offer scams, victims continue to lose millions of dollars to fraudsters.

“Subscription Traps and Deceptive Free Trials Scam Millions with Misleading Ads and Fake Celebrity Endorsements,” describes how free trial offers often use celebrity endorsement ads on social media and the internet to attract consumers to deceptive websites that charge a small shipping and handling fee, usually $4.99 or less, for a “free” trial of beauty or health products like skin creams or weight loss pills.

The true cost of these free trials, ongoing monthly subscription plans, is buried in small print and behind links, if disclosed at all.

BBB urges consumers to:

  • Examine online free trial offers carefully
  • Resist being swayed by the phony use of a well-known name
  • Report free trial offer scams to BBB Scam Tracker
  • Report losses to credit card companies. After the BBB free trial offer study, Mastercard and Visa issued new policies to increase transparency for free trial offers. Victims should call the customer service number on the back of the credit card used to ask for their money back.

For more information visit “Free trial offer” scams

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