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BBB warning: Beware of "Free Trial" offers online

Average victim lost $186
Posted at 4:02 PM, Dec 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-19 06:56:49-05

AMHERST, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning people to use caution when signing up for so-called "risk free trials" online. Often, what looks like a free offer has fine print that results in a consumer getting unwanted products which are charged to your debit or credit cards.

The internet and social media are filled with "free trial" offers promising you a chance to get a free product for a small shipping charge.

However, the BBB found that many times people are not reading the fine print, which can be misleading, that says a person is actually subscribing to receive products over time.

Some local victims have lost hundreds of dollars.

The problem is growing with the Federal Trade Commission reporting the number of "free trial" complaints nearly doubling during the years 2015 - 2017. Complaints to the BBB number 37,000 over the past three years.

An investigation by the Better Business Bureau found that 72% of victims are women because the fraudulent ads often promote skin care products.

In addition, the BBB found scammers are falsely claiming celebrities, like Oprah Winfrey and others, are endorsing their products.

You can read the BBB investigation here: BBB Report on Free Trial Offers