How to spot FAKE freebies- Article on SC

Hey everyone, in light of the fake freebies that keep popping up on facebook, (free timhortons and starbucks giftcards) I thought I'd share this article on SC about how to spot fake freebies.
People say if it's too good to be true it probably is.
There are real freebies out there, you just need to know what to look for.

Read here:
"The lure of free stuff is a powerful marketing tool and is used to good effect by many savvy marketers. Unfortunately, not every free stuff offer is what it appears to be. There are lots of great free stuff offers out there, but you need to use some healthy skepticism and resist the temptation to fall for free stuff scams. Evaluating free stuff offers is pretty easy if you use a little common sense mixed with some knowledge and a bit of experience. Below are some tips to help you avoid the free stuff boondoggles:

  • Too good to be true - Most offers that appear too good to be true usually are. Examine the motivation for the free offer. A free trial size shampoo makes sense because they are trying to sell shampoo. A free vacation is unlikely, unless there are large hidden charges attached.

  • Suspicious websites- If a website has tons of Google ads and does not look legit to you, just skip it. Also, if a website has the words "free" (Example: in it's address name, it is not a real freebie and is a scam. If a website looks badly constructed, has lots of spelling and grammatical errors, bombards you with downloads or pop ups you should ask yourself - "Do I trust this website with my information and are they really going to send me a freebie?" The answer could well be no. If a website has enough money to send out thousands of freebies - why haven't they spent the same amount of money developing a profession looking website? The answer could be that they have no freebies to give out and only want your details.

  • URL- If the website URL is from a free hosting domain such as yahoo or tripod, don't take a chance. Surely a real company could afford an address without hosts.

  • Use an alternative email- when signing up for freebies, it's always good to use a alternative email, not your main one. That way, if you do fall for a scam, it will all go to your other side account and not clog up your main one. I recommend a yahoo or hotmail or gmail account because they have good storage and junk mail filter.

  • Win-win?- Usually, when the company give out freebies, they do it so people can sample their products and possibly purchase them in the future. If the website is offering "free samples", look for a link or something back to the company. If there is no link or address, how will customers contact them again to buy products? No company would willing give away thousands of products with no way for contact.

  • Owner?- Do you know who owns the site? If they are giving away "free dove samples", is URL If it's not the actual company offering the product, it is likey a scam.

  • Don't pay for prizes - If you get email or postal mail proclaiming you the winner of a great prize and all you have to do is pay a fee to claim it, don't. It' s a scam and the only winners are the scammers.

  • Read the fine print- If the site looks suspicious to you, read their FAQ or Terms of Agreement(if there is one). Does it guarantee that you'll get the freebie or that it is not a scam? If it says it's not affiliated in any way with the product, or anything like that, move on.

  • Beware email collection scams - Most of the sites that consist of nothing but a form offering free stuff are there to collect email addresses for spammers. These sometimes have long lists of offers or "newsletters" you can subscribe to. If you are tempted to sign up for these, be sure to use a disposable email address.

  • Banners & Pop-Ups- If the freebie comes to you from a banner or pop-up while surfing the Internet, it's probably best to pass. This is especially true if the freebie advertisement takes you to a website other than homepage of the freebie product being offered.

  • Survey Scams- Never complete any surveys that state the word "FREE" in the headline. In other words, if the survey states something like "Fill out this survey and you will receive a free $50.00 gift certificate. They are actually trying to find out which products you would be interested in purchasing while you are filling out this long screening process. Do not give them your email address or credit card number. You will receive hundreds of junk mail everyday, and still not receive your $50.00 gift certificate until you purchase at least $400.00 of merchandise!
And remember: Always research any paid survey site by researching scams and or, place the name of the company in your browser and use the word "scams" beside their name. This should tell you whether or not this company is a scam artist."

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