The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is warning of an uptick in free trial scams, which come in several shapes and sizes. You may see an ad from a company saying you’ve been granted a temporary subscription to their product, absolutely free. The only catch? You’re asked to pay for hidden fees that are more than shipping and handling. Alternatively, you might be asked to share detailed financial information even though you’re officially not obligated to pay anything.

Here’s how to steer clear of free trial scams:

  • Do your research.  A quick online search of the company name with words like “scam” or “negative review” should give you an idea of what the business is all about.
  • Read the fine print. Don’t click anything without reading all terms and conditions of the offer.
  • Look for an exit strategy. Is there a way to change your mind? If you only have a small pocket of time to cancel, you might be looking at a scam.
  • Always review your credit card and checking account statements. This way, you’ll spot anything suspicious and you’ll be able to determine if you can back out of a shady deal.
  • Don’t share sensitive information online. This one’s pretty self-explanatory.
  • Check URLsWhen signing up for a free trial, you’ll be redirected to a new site. Check the URL of the webpage and determine if it matches the company you are allegedly dealing with.