Recently the Federal Trade Commission cracked down on free gift card scammers and their spammer affiliates. The settlement was done for $2.5 million and the offer companies promised not to get involved in scamming people again with false $1000 gift card promises that they never delivered.
What they have done wrong:
First of all they didn’t deliver on their promises. No one ever got that $1000 Walmart gift card. Even those who went through the qualifying process never received any cards.
Second, instead of using this database of leads they built in their own marketing of related offers they sold the private information of their customers (or should I say victims) to third-party marketing companies without permission.
What you should know as a consumer:
As a consumer you need to know that those 6 companies/individuals involved in this law suit are not the only ones in the business, and you are still going to receive some more offers from companies and individuals who might be located in a different country where you are not protected.
Also you need to know that not all free gift card offers are scams. Some are legit and they are compensations for your efforts rather than a draw that no one ever wins.
Another thing you should know is that affiliates (the army of freelance marketers who spam your email with those offers) are not all spammers or pure evil. They are individuals who are trying to survive and make money on the Internet because in some cases they have no other choice. Also not all of them use spam as a marketing method. Some are honest and clear about what to expect from those offers and they wait for you to land on their websites instead of spamming your email with unwanted offers.
How to spot the scam in the offer:
1. Some offers are pure scams and they scream it out loud, just use common sense. For example there are offers of a “Visa gift card” to use in Costco. Given that Costco only accepts cash, debit, and Amex (no Visa) you don’t need to think twice.
2. When the offer is too good to be true most probably it is. No one is going to give away $1000 for nothing in return unless they are doing money laundry.
3. Never give your sensitive personal data on a free gift card offer. There is no reason for the gift card offering company to collect social security numbers or dates of birth. All what they need is your name, address to send the card, and a phone number to contact you.
4. Look for the contact information on the site and call them first before you participate. Make sure the company really exists and it is located in the territories in which you can sue them if they don’t deliver.
5. In some offers you are required to respond to some free trials (you pay shipping and handling). If those are things you don’t really need or want then don’t. And treat every single offer as a different company because it is. Call them and make sure they have customer service and they are located within your legal power territory.
What to do when you identify a scam free git card offer:
1. First contact the Federal Trade Commission and report it. They’ll be more than happy to know.
2. If you receive those offers in the email don’t respond or open those emails. If the spammers make money from spam they’ll keep doing it. Let it cost them an arm and a leg without any return from you. Eventually they’ll find some other way and leave the spam altogether.
3. If you find this offer on a website leave a comment and let other readers, and the webmaster, know about your experience with this offer. Most probably the webmaster will delete that offer or replace it. You can also warn your friends by email and on social media. Just be specific and don’t ruin it for other honest marketers by generalizing the accusations.Immobilienmakler Heidelberg Makler Heidelberg Schnell, zuverlässig und kompetent
Source by Yahia Magraby