In this scam, fraudsters work to trick you into a monthly subscription for a product or service.
Video length: 1 minute, 21 seconds
How it works
The scammer offers “free” or “low-cost” trials of products and/or services. Products commonly offered are weight-loss pills, health foods, pharmaceuticals, hemp oil and anti-ageing products.
Once you provide your credit card information to cover “just” the shipping costs, you are unknowingly locked into a monthly subscription. Delivery and billing can then be difficult—if not almost impossible—to stop.
How to spot it
Scammers use websites, emails, social media platforms and phones to reel people in. Often, high-pressure sales tactics like a “limited time offer” are used to rush you into making a decision.
- Trust your instincts. If it’s too good to be true, don’t sign up.
- Before you sign up for a free trial, research the company and read reviews, especially the negative ones. The Better Business Bureau is a great source of information.
- Don’t sign up if you can’t find or understand the terms and conditions. Pay special attention to pre-checked boxes, cancellation clauses, return policies, any vague charges, and obligations to avoid being charged for the “free trial”.
- If you go ahead with a free trial, keep all documents, receipts, emails, and text messages.
- Regularly check your credit card statements for frequent or unknown charges.
- If you have trouble cancelling your subscription, contact your credit card provider, your local consumer protection organization, or law enforcement agencies.
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- Continuity scams (Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre)