You’ve finally decided to explore the exciting world of online marketing and spend some money on developing products and launching campaigns. Your bank account is already feeling the effects of your newfound courage, as you’re seeing an uptick in transactions. You’re feeling encouraged, and your spouse is even starting to believe in your ability to change.

So far, so good. You’ve got a nice little savings account, and things are looking up for your business. You decide it’s time to reevaluate your strategies and see where you’re spending your money. When you log into your account, you’re greeted by a red flag that scares you back to your roots: your trial has ended, and you’re being charged for the subscription.

This is a serious problem. A simple Google search on “free trial fraud” will lead you to dozens of articles offering advice on how to avoid being scammed by companies that claim to offer free trials. If this sounds like you, keep reading.

Protect Yourself With Two Important Phrases

There are two phrases you need to be aware of when looking into any trial: flat rate pricing and money back guarantee.

The first one, “flat rate pricing,” is often used by scammers to get you to agree to undisclosed price increases after the trial ends. To prevent this, make sure you’re aware of the flat rate pricing before you start the trial. The second one, “money back guarantee,” is an important feature that protects you against scam artists who sell questionable products with deceptive marketing claims. This is particularly important if you decide to try a tool or program that costs money.

For instance, if you try a membership site for marketers and decide that it doesn’t live up to your expectations, you can cancel your subscription within 30 days and receive a full refund, including all of the fees you’ve paid. If you try an autoresponder service and find that it doesn’t produce the results you’re looking for, you can subscribe to the free version and use it for 15 days, at which point you can cancel your subscription without jeopardizing your wallet.

The ‘Shiny New Product’ Syndrome

One of the primary ways scammers prey on innocent, unsuspecting individuals is by promoting shiny new products that sound too good to be true. These products usually are. The marketers behind these products will do whatever they can to make you believe that the shiny new thing is the key to your success. They’ll shower you with endless praise and accolades, assuring you that your old methods are worthless and that this new product will help you change the game.

Sadly, when you try the new product, it usually doesn’t live up to the hype. The marketers are counting on your desire to find success and the allure of a ‘shiny new thing’ to get you to try their product, even though it might not be what you actually need. When this happens, it creates a perfect storm for scam artists, who can then swoop in and convince you to hand over your money. To prevent yourself from being duped into trying a ‘shiny new product’, it’s important to do your research and make sure the product actually lives up to its claims.

Watch Out For Disappointment

It’s almost impossible to avoid disappointment, especially when you’re a human being and not a robot. But that doesn’t mean you have to let yourself be scammed by it. Disappointment can sneak up on you when you least expect it, and before you know it, you’re being asked to pay for a product you didn’t want in the first place.

When that happens, it’s usually because you didn’t do enough research or you assumed the wrong things about the product. Instead of seeing it as a nuisance that keeps you from getting what you want, you can decide to learn from it and move on. Don’t look for revenge, because that’s what the scammers are counting on. Instead, use this as a teaching moment and a chance to grow.

Never Agree To Terms Or Sign Up Without Confirming Them

Even if a company is trustworthy, you should still ask for written confirmation of the terms before you agree to them. This is especially important if the terms are not what you were expecting or if there’s something that you don’t understand. When that happens, you’ll have the opportunity to review the contract and negotiate a better deal or opt out of the contract entirely. Unfortunately, there are a lot of predators out there who will try to trick you into agreeing to terms they’ve made up. To protect yourself, insist on getting a written contract that clearly states the terms before you agree to them.

Try Before You Buy

Sometimes, all a scammer needs to do is get you to click a button or fill out a form to get your credit card information. Once they have that, the ability to bill you automatically becomes a reality. Instead of feeling intimidated by this, take a deep breath and try before you buy. Even if the product or service sounds great, there’s always a chance that it might not be what you’re looking for. Trying out a new product or service can be difficult, especially if you’re not used to doing so. Instead of rushing into a decision, take some time to research, try, and see how you feel about the product or service before you make a purchase. This will help you avoid the vast majority of online fraud, where scammers go after people who’ve already been convinced to try their product or service. It also means you’ll be that much more likely to be satisfied with your decision, knowing you’ve tried out the product first and can cancel your order if you’re unsatisfied.

Use Your Common Sense

If you see something that seems too good to be true, it usually is. Most companies don’t have the interest of their customers at heart, which is why they tend to offer such generous terms and sales campaigns. However, the moment you start to question whether or not something is legitimate, it’s already too late. Common sense should kick in, and you should be able to tell if a company is trying to scam you.

By following the tips above, you’ll be that much more likely to avoid becoming a victim of online fraud. Simply put, don’t give away your money or personal information without a fight and be sure to confirm the terms of any contract before you sign it. The vast majority of scams are easily preventable if you take the time to do some research and know exactly what you’re agreeing to. When you do your research, you can be sure that you’re not going to be scammed, and that’s what matters most.