With the rough economy the last couple years combined with rising prices on everything from food to gas, everyone can use something free from time to time. A great way I love to save money is by getting freebies through the mail. Some people think that this is a huge hassle and not worth the time spent but if you start adding up the money saved by receiving free items instead of purchasing them, you may change your mind. Of course, only send away for items that you will actually use and if you are worried about wasting time then only send away for free items that are things that you would be purchasing anyways.
As with all things good, however, someone, somewhere has found a way to turn it into something bad – the freebie scam. Are freebies really free? For those not familiar with freebies you may wonder what they are and why a company would give something away for free. Basically a freebie is something free a company is willing to give to you in order to hopefully obtain your business in the future. There are tons and tons of legitimate freebies to be found so don’t be too skeptical. On the other hand, if it sounds too good to be true it usually is. For instance, receiving a free container of baby formula is a legitimate freebie to entice you to try their formula and therefore make money from you in the future. free laptop offer on the other hand usually has a catch. Maybe it includes signing up for other offers first or something along those lines but just be careful. Most of the legitimate freebies will only ask you to simply fill out a form and that is it. To avoid being the subject of one of these scams when searching for freebies, follow these simple rules below:
1. Be careful of freebies that require you to sign up for several other offers before receiving your freebie. Usually these offers require a credit card number and may be free for the first 30 days. It may be tempting depending on the freebie and this is up to you but most of these trials will automatically start billing you after the trial period. If you do decide to sign up for these make sure you keep record of what you signed up for and when so you can be sure to call and cancel the service before they start billing you. I usually advise against signing up for anything that requires a credit card number.
2. You may want to use an extra email address you have or sign up for a free email address to use only for things such as freebies instead of using your primary email address. Some of these websites use your email address for spam after sending you your freebie.
3. Never, ever give your social security number
4. Beware of freebies that advertise they are free except for shipping/handling. Many of these are legitimate as long as the shipping/handling is reasonable but some offers basically add in the cost of the item into the shipping cost so you really are not receiving anything for free. So, if you are going to pay shipping for an item make sure it is worth it.
5. If you send off for a freebie and never receive it this does not necessarily mean you have been scammed unless you have sent away postage as well. Many times the companies underestimate the response for a freebie and quickly run out of them or stop offering the freebie.
Okay, now that you know what to watch out for you are ready to get started. Looking online for freebies can be very addicting and also very time consuming. Here are a few websites to get you started that have a database of freebies so that you don’t have to check every company website.