Unfortunately we all either know someone, or have been claimed as a
victim of one of the "Free Trial Offer" scams that are all over the
Internet. In an attempt to educate others in avoiding the mistakes I
made (even though I thought I was pretty secure in the way I treated
this "free offer"), I hereby offer this posting/rebuttal.
Please copy it, and send it to everyone you know, if the thieves can't
be stopped, we can hurt them through being smart internet-savvy
consumers, armed with the correct weapons for this type of fight.
The BEST way to fight this scam is to be PROACTIVE!! A good offense is
your best defense!
If you have a PayPal account (or any other type of account like
PayPal) look for their product/service called a "SINGLE USE SECURE
CREDIT CARD" (you may have to download and install the PayPal plug-in
for your browser). If you don't have a PayPal type of account, consider obtaining one, it is a more secure way of doing business over the Internet and the "Secure Credit Card" system enables you to make purchases more safely on the Internet. Other credit card companies/banks are starting to offer this service as well, ask around.
If they have one (as PayPal does) when ordering the free trial USE
THIS SECURE SINGLE USE CREDIT CARD!!! It will not be attached or be
identified to your bank/charge card accounts and will prevent unauthorized charges to your account!!! * (see below) It's like having a disposable razor, use it and throw it away. Don't forget to save your receipt for the transaction...
You will be able to obtain the "Free Trial Offer", and not have to cancel the account as the Credit Card will be dead *. (see below) Or in my case, fail to cancel the subscription BEFORE the 19 day trial period for a 30 day trial of the product! * (see below) Which is how they "get you", assuming that they will bill you for the next round of product(s) BEFORE you see the credit card/bank statement!!!
* NOTICE: PayPal SECURE SINGLE USE CREDIT CARDS can be processed by a
merchant more than one time!!! I found this out the hard way.
It seems that a "single use" card can be "hit" up to FOUR times by the same merchant for things like multiple ship orders, or SUBSCRIPTIONS!!!
Since the free trial is considered a subscription, the merchant was able to "hit" the card again 19 days after the first charge of 99 cents (for the free trial offer).
THE WAY AROUND THIS is to log on to your PayPal account and CLOSE the
SECURE SINGLE USE CREDIT CARD as soon as it has been charged the first
time for the "Free Trial Offer" amount (like 99 cents or so)!!! (On PayPal, just click on the menu item on the right side of the page that says "PayPal Plugin", then there will be new menus on the left side that will enable you to view secure cards and close any open ones)Since the card was a "single use" card, you have done nothing illegal
or wrong by closing this card. You have not violated any terms, agreements or any other convoluted "fine print" or terms and conditions hidden on some obscure often overlooked page of their website that the scammer has made you agree to in the free trial offer.
I assume other bank/credit card companies may have similar types of secure single use credit cards, just check out if they can be processed more than once by a merchant. Then see how to close/cancel them as soon as the first charge for the free trial comes in.
Good Luck, and if we do this right, we can put these scammers out of business, because they won't be able to exist selling their product for the "Free Trial Offer" amount like 99 cents, and wasting time trying to collect from dead credit cards.
Pass this info around, the more who know how to defeat these opportunistic bastards, the better!!!