Sweepstakes, Freebies, and how to avoid SCAMS!

These days, I’ve seen people posting a lot about new freebies that are scams. I thought I’d share a few tips on how to tell what’s a scam and what’s not. These are just some small tips and pointers; you can read more into it. All of these apply to freebies, some apply to sweepstakes and giveaways:
 
1. Branding: 
 Nothing in life is really free. A brand gives out free items because they are trying to promote themselves… It’s an effective and relatively inexpensive way to advertise. Therefore, they will be VERY WELL BRANDED if they are indeed giving something out – look for high resolution that shows the branding is original and not downloaded off the internet.

2. Host site:
 It will either be hosted on their website, or on a common sampling website (walmart, target, offerpop, that company’s facebook page). Watch out especially for websites that seem to be spin-offs of popular websites, but aren’t (think amazon spring occasion.)

3. Privacy information:
 Every legitimate site that asks for information will always include a privacy policy. If they don’t have one, assume your information will be up for grabs and DON’T SHARE. Once you’re at it, take a moment to read it (sometimes they’ll share your email with other “select partners” – so if this is a problem for you, give an email where you get only spam mail). For sweepstakes and giveaways look for “terms and conditions” as well.

4. Size:
  If it’s too good to be true, it most likely is. You will sometimes be able to get something like a full size mascara, but usually samples are just that – samples. No one ever gives out huge packages without a huge catch… Sometimes it means having to “complete 3 silver and 2 gold and 1 platinum offer” which basically means giving out credit card or personal information. Lots of times larger samples start you on a paid subscription…. so you need to make sure you cancel (Citrus Lane and Beauty Box 5 have had this. So does Julep, but by them you need to pay shipping). Set a calendar alarm, and bookmark the cancellation link. There are some services that are totally legit that require you to do a certain amount of social media activities ONCE YOU HAVE THE PRODUCT (such as Influenster ) but these WILL come with appropriate privacy policies and relevancy questionnaires. When in doubt, you can always look up a business such as this in the BBB.

5. What they require of you:
I’ve never seen a legitimate freebie that required you to share to 5 groups before getting it… If they’re asking for too much before you get the item, it’s most likely a scam… Also, steer away from anything that says “free trial”, especially if it requires credit card information. If it’s something you know is legitimate (such as the brands I’ve mentioned above), make sure you set an alarm to cancel.

You should look for ALL of the above factors – even one of those things stated above can be a red flag. The best place to find these freebies are by following blogs that seek them out (I like Momma Deals/ her facebook page) but even they will occasionally trip up and post an offer that requires you to go through a long survey where you have to say “no” to every question and you put your information at risk. Even when following these people, you should look for the red flags above.

I get almost daily mail with legitimate freebies, just by following a few blogs, and spending a few minutes a day. Don’t fall prey to people who are out to get your information!

Some places to start for larger freebies:
Influenster
BzzAgent
Smiley360
PinchMe
Allure Free Stuff (monthly – the first full week of the month).
Swapmamas (for swapping)

Disclaimer: This post contains referral links!

Good luck and enjoy!

5 Comments

  1. This is awesome info! After doing years of freebies we know what to look for. I get so upset when people think they are going to get a free Ipad for just clicking a website.

  2. Very informational and will come in handy. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I wish this had existed 5 years ago when I signed up for not one but two very tempting too-good-to-be-true get rich quick schemes out of desperation in college. Great tips! And thanks for sharing your site over on Facebook so I could check out your theme 🙂

    • [email protected]

      With pleasure! Good luck with your move…

  4. Great info! As someone who has dealt a lot with freebies and deals and sharing them, I have come across all of these and it is very concerning when I see friends and family taking the bait but not listening to when I say not to. I’m going to share this so they can see and hopefully avoid the next scam.

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