As you surf the web, it can be difficult to ignore all of the ads and free trial offers that websites throw at you. A newer version of an old scam uses similar messaging, but now targets it to businesses that are trying to pivot in today’s work-from-home world. A free trial scam is one which offers a free introductory trial if you enroll in a club or a subscription to a group. For instance, they might offer (and actually deliver) a free introductory package with information, downloads, or online access in exchange for payment information. They’ll then continue to send you new items, charging as they go until you cancel; or they’ll auto-renew you at a regular cadence. Others will offer a free trial, then take time helping you through difficulties, charging you as time goes by. Since many companies use only a few forms of payment that are shared by a different people, managing these memberships and registrations can be difficult. It can be easy to lose track of them and allow recurring charges to continue unchecked.
What You Can Do
If any unsolicited software or membership approaches you, be wary and ask a lot of questions. Here are some tips that might help you avoid the untruthful ones out there:
- Research the company online with a quick Google search. This includes looking at any affiliated companies that might be associated with the company approaching you. Using words like reviews and date founded in your search can help you verify if they’re real.
- Fine the terms and conditions for the offer. If you can’t find them or if they don’t make any sense to you, don’t sign up.
- Watch out for pre-checked boxes. Online governance is helping with this problem, but many scammers are still employing this simple step. Make sure you scan all interactive areas of a form anytime you submit information.
- This is an easy one that most people skip: mark your calendar a week or a few days prior to the free trial expiration date so you get charged for a trail you didn’t find valuable.
- Review your company credit and debit card statements. Fortunately, many businesses have someone supervising their accounts payable, but it can never hurt to scan your statements for repetitious charges. It’s always possible that an approval could slip by, especially before the recurring charge was deemed no longer appropriate.
Fortunately, we have your technology updates covered, but you always welcome to reach out to us if you are considering something new. We can help you vet the company and the product as well as provide guidance on it would best work with your current systems. If we can help you make the most out of your technology assessments, just let us know by emailing Help@HDCav.com or calling 360-930-6991.