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If It Sounds Too Good To Be True

Updated on September 6, 2014
A shell game in Berlin.
A shell game in Berlin. | Source

Claim your FREE $1,000 WalMart gift card! Get a free IPad or MacBook Pro! Stay away from offers like this because they are designed to get you to respond and spend money for things that don't work as claimed or you may never even receive what you agreed to, let alone the freebie that lured you in. If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

Many people will find that once they agree even to a small shipping charge, they will be auto debited every month. This may not even be clearly stated to them or intentionally hidden. Even worse, they will not mention anything about a refund upfront...because there are none. You will have to scratch, claw, and threaten calling authorities and Attorneys General if you want a refund, and even then, you still may not get it.

If you want a WalMart gift card, buy it. If you want an IPad, buy it. Warn those that you know about these high dollar freebie scams, whether they have/use a computer or not. These scam offers are directed at people through a variety of ways and many are still getting tricked to their dismay.

WalMart and Apple try to stop the crooks but they often cover their tracks well by frequently changing company names, addresses, phone numbers, etc. Because the crooks often make it very difficult for even their "customers" to contact them (and read them the riot act), they make it difficult for the owners of these trademarks to come after them as well.

All is not what it first appears. Look closely, all of these lines are the same size. Just one example of an illusion.
All is not what it first appears. Look closely, all of these lines are the same size. Just one example of an illusion. | Source

These offers often are seen by potential victims in a variety of ways such as pop ups, pop unders, unsolicited emails, and texts. Some people respond to scam surveys, print ads, radio ads, or fall for the bait of a telemarketer and these high dollar freebies are dangled as a reward for saying yes but are most often not given away.

In fact, if the customer ever could get their hands on the fine print, they may see that the company dangling these freebies may only give one away in the span of a year. Despite this, the advertisers get away with this mode of "marketing." Because they work with like minded unscrupulous companies to create numerous offers and trials, many customers get confused about who offered what but many remember the initial ad they saw and quickly notice the flood of offers and charges to their accounts after that.

Most people know that if you save a few bucks each month, you can buy the IPad or the $1,000 gift card (or merchandise instead) and not deal with unscrupulous companies or be hounded by people trying to sell you more things because you fell for a scam.

As the old saying goes, if you lay down with dogs you get fleas. Any company that uses another company's product or trademark without permission is operating illegally. To trick people into spending money by luring them with a high dollar freebie that they most likely won't ever get is even worse. Companies willing to tie their name or products to the initial crooked company to push their products are just as low.

Trust me!
Trust me! | Source

Let's say grandpa is online with his new computer and sees an email asking him to take a survey and in return he'll get a free IPad. Grandpa starts filling out the survey and he's not asked, he's REQUIRED to agree to a minimum number of offers that he must pay for from various "partners" to get the free gift card or IPad. That makes the free item, not free. After he fills out his name, address, phone number, banking or credit card info, and possibly SSN he is solicited with offer after offer. Even if grandpa does complete the survey and completes the various purchases required of him to get the free gift, more offers keep coming.

When grandpa tries to get his free item, a technical error pop up might show. If he tries to close the window, it may or may not close. Other pop ups ensue and with every click, more pop ups litter his desk top. If he was even shown a valid phone number, grandpa tries to call or email to get his questions answered but cannot reach anyone. Starting just a day or two later, companies grandpa never heard of are reaching out to him left and right. Telemarketing calls, spam, even text messages, or in some cases direct mail offers are coming to grandpa fast and furious now and he is not happy. He knows these offers are all tied together but no one will tell him why or how to make it all stop.

While on the phone with a telemarketer he asks about his free IPad or $1,000 WalMart gift card. The person on the line might tell him they don't work for the company that makes that offer and continue pushing grandpa to agree to their own offer or trial despite his reluctance. They won't take no for an answer and may advise him to call tomorrow to cancel to still get whatever freebie they are offering to him at the moment.

He calls the next day and can't get through or is told to call back because they can't find his file. Grandpa forgets and his card is charged. Just two or four weeks later, grandpa's card is charged a higher cost for something he never wanted and had trouble cancelling. Grandpa might not have enough to pay his bills or buy his medicine this month. When he finally gets through when calling to cancel, only then is he told there are no refunds and to have a nice day.

The bottom line is that the promised products are not given away in quantities decent enough for people to have a fair chance of getting them if they are given away at all. Some of these companies do not give anything away at all. It's much safer & easier for people to buy IPads or gift cards from reputable companies instead of trying to get something for free. You cannot get something for nothing.

Many customers report that their computers had viruses and other problems soon after taking part in these offers online. Also, a fair number of customers say while online trying to meet the requirements to get the big dollar freebie and they inched closer to the required number of purchases, their computer did one or two strange things. They say they entered their info, thought better of it and closed the window (did not submit) but their info was still saved and processed and their accounts were charged! In addition to this, they are solicited non-stop for many other offers and trials in which they have no interest. Despite having their info processed and paying for junk, they will never get a free IPad or $1,000 Wal-Mart gift card.

Different people saying they had the exact same experience does not bode well for the trustworthiness of the companies behind these "offers". Often, because the customer didn't reach the required number of purchases, they don't get the big dollar freebie. However, the offers are non-stop and it appears that the only way of earning the freebie is by agreeing to spend several times more than it's value. If you don't do so, the company makes off with your money and you get nothing for free. This is why it's best to cut out the middleman offers and if you really want something to buy it yourself rather than hoping to get it for free or by trying out something from a company that you've never heard of.

I have heard from other people who experienced very similar computer problems even after they did complete the required number of purchases. They never got a thing for free as advertised. Strange happenings such as the computer shutting down during the survey/process even though it had no prior history of problems or the offers simply not ending despite meeting the minimum required purchases. It truly appears to be set up so that customers get interrupted by these issues and other means so the company doesn't have to stick to it's word. This scam has been going for years now. Don't fall for it.

It must also be made crystal clear that Wal-Mart and Apple do not take part in these schemes and try to control the use of their products, names, and likenesses. Their main gripe is that the shady companies don't have permission to use their products and trademarks and it's also possible that people have directed their complaints to the reputable products companies simply because they could not get anywhere with the crooks who gave them the come on. But, there are many crooked companies based in the US and some outside of the US as well, who use Wal-Mart, Apple's, and other names/products in ways the reputable companies do not approve of.

The most important thing you can do is to stay away from anything that sounds too good to be true. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is and if they take to pushy or deceptive tactics, you should not deal with them anyway. Also, if you don't agree to buy or pay for anything from crooks, you are telling them they have nothing good to offer you and that they need to offer something of true value that is genuinely desired to make a living. Eventually, if they can't play fair, they can't play at all.


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    • Express10 profile imageAUTHOR

      H C Palting 

      6 years ago from East Coast

      Thanks Peggy, scams come in many forms and are more abundant during the holidays. Watch out.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      It is a shame that things like this happen but apparently it has been going on for a long time...thus the "old" saying regarding "If it is too good to be true it probably is." I hate hearing stories about the elderly being taken advantage of. They grew up in an age when a handshake was as good as a contract and a man's word was his bond, so often they tend to trust people more. Your hub is a good reminder to stay on the alert against scams of all types. Up and useful.

    • Express10 profile imageAUTHOR

      H C Palting 

      7 years ago from East Coast

      You are correct. It does appear that some people least able to afford it are being taken advantage of in this economy. Stick with your instincts and remember this old adage. Thanks.

    • Tonipet profile image

      Tonette Fornillos 

      7 years ago from The City of Generals

      If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This is a very useful hub and a must-read so internet users will be cautious enough. With the kind of economy the world has today, chances are many people can get so caught up on things that are too good to be true. Thank you for this express10. Voted up useful, interesting and awesome.

    • Express10 profile imageAUTHOR

      H C Palting 

      7 years ago from East Coast

      I figured people could relate to the example of Grandpa because I have seen this very thing happen with older people. Well educated and informed consumers also fall for bad deals at best and scams at worst on a daily basis. Thanks so much Tillsontitan.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      7 years ago from New York

      I agree with Frank this should be a hub of the day or hub of the week. People can't be told often enough to be careful and not get sucked in. You made a good point by using Grandpa because it seems older people are still more vulnerable. Voted up.

    • Express10 profile imageAUTHOR

      H C Palting 

      7 years ago from East Coast

      You are right and many people have that gut feeling that tells them to say no but most ignore it or allow themselves to be persuaded otherwise.

    • RTalloni profile image


      7 years ago from the short journey

      There will never be a day when this type warning isn't helpful because there are so many reasons people may not be paying attention to what is happening at any given moment. With so many scammers out there it pays to pay attention!

    • Express10 profile imageAUTHOR

      H C Palting 

      7 years ago from East Coast

      The shysters approach and siphon in so many ways... Thanks for stopping by Gusser.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      A friend of mine was nearly bankrupted believing in getting something for nothing. Thanks for the info.

    • Express10 profile imageAUTHOR

      H C Palting 

      7 years ago from East Coast

      Oh those automated calls are so annoying. I hope that this hub helps people spot and avoid this type of nonsense. Thank you so much.

    • Express10 profile imageAUTHOR

      H C Palting 

      7 years ago from East Coast

      Thanks Frank, I hope this hub just makes people better able to spot and avoid this type of scam. I am shocked to learn that I know someone who is rich because of doing this type of stuff.

    • Dee aka Nonna profile image

      Dee aka Nonna 

      7 years ago

      I so agree with you. I get these all the time...they come via email, text message, phone calls. I don't know how many times I have answered the phone and the voice tell me that if I listen to the message about education or something I will receive a free membership to one thing and another, I usually just hang up because trying to talk to them is pointless. I have opted out of every thing and still they come.

      I am voting this up and useful and I am sharing it as well. I am frustrated by it all and I know others must be as well, but your message is clear not fall victim.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      7 years ago from Shelton

      Express this should be the hub of the day.. or the week very useful and helpful :)

    • Express10 profile imageAUTHOR

      H C Palting 

      7 years ago from East Coast

      Aaaaah the joys of mystery shopping. That's just one of the many scams that people fall for. The people who mobilize the scams might not ever contact the end "customers" but they often do make millions when they get enough takers.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 

      7 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Exposing scams is a duty we all share. I did such an article on "Mystery Shoppers" and one such scam. You performed a fine service. Watch out for inheritances from Nigeria, etc., and the sad part is that scam artists don't even know how to paint and pull in millions every year!


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