InvestigatorsMatter for Mallory


BBB warns 'free' trial promos can scam millions out of millions

Posted at 5:59 PM, Dec 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-12 18:33:20-05

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — Their products promise big claims -- male enhancement, testosterone boosters, and more.

"I spent 30 years as a law enforcement officer. I spent the last 12 years with FEMA; the last five years I was the branch chief in charge of FEMA's fraud and internal investigation division and they got men," Jeff Krauss said.

Krauss rarely ever shops online.

One of the few times he did, he sprung for free multivitamin of 'Vandexafil' he saw in the corner of his browser.

All he thought he had to do was pay for shipping and handling.

"..hit the gym four or five times a week. I was looking for, not looking online for, but I knew I wanted a multivitamin," Krauss said.

And while the productive came, it also came with a big bill of $89 for the one bottle.

A study from the Better Business Bureau shows the free trials or subscription based schemes trap millions of people for millions of dollars.

The trials come with fine print buried on websites that'll charge customers a repeated fee and people find it different to get them to stop.

"BBB found that the averarge loss for a victim was around $186. 72% of the victims from our study were female," Angie Barnett, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau - Greater Baltimore, said.

She says a majority of women between 30 and 39 years old are the ones who fall victim to these scams, adding it's important for consumers to slow down and do their due diligence reading the fine print before putting their credit card or any other information online .

"My story is it can happen to anybody. I feel foolish. I don't particularly like the word victim, but I fell for the scam and it's out there," Krauss said.