Rip Offs Alert: Free Magazine Scams
By Shelley Lockwood
Watch out for those so called "free or prepaid magazine subscriptions"!
The scam artists' marketing approaches vary.
You can be told that you've won a free valuable prize or a prepaid subscription to a popular magazine.
Sometimes the scams are carried out through telemarketing. In other instances you may receive mail advising you to call a number to claim a valuable prize that you've won. It's also come in the form of getting you to call and claim a load of valuable coupons and a free entry into a large cash sweepstakes. They've even been known to send phony invoices or renewal notices.
They get your personal, banking/credit card information. Of course they need your name and address for you to receive the magazine or send you your prize. The banking or credit card info is required for payment of "shipping charges".
Thousands of victims have been scammed out of millions of dollars.
What's the scam? Scammers have made unauthorized bank debits from victims' bank accounts and against victims' credit cards. They've billed excessively high shipping charges. The so called shipping charges in many instances exceeded what the actual subscription costs would have been in the first place.
Many are told they can cancel their subscription at any time. Then when they tried, they did so unsuccessfully.
There have been instances where victims didn't agree to receive the magazine in the first place, and were still billed.
Be very wary when being approached. Always make sure you understand exactly what is being offered and all costs involved. In fact, ask for the entire offer in writing before proceeding. Then add it up, you just may find that the total costs involved are more than you'd actually pay for the subscription itself.
Research the Company before giving them your banking or credit card information. You should never give this information out unless you know who you are dealing with.
If you're not interested in the offer, tell them to put you on their do not call list. It's illegal for them to continue to call you after that. If they are scammers, they'll probably continue to call. Simply hang up, they deserve it!
Always be very careful what you verbally agree to. In some states within the US, your verbal agreement can mean that you actually have to pay.
If you're ever tempted to say anything other than a straight forward no and don't call me again, we strongly suggest you read this FTC publication about
Magazine Subscription Scams