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Freebie sites are all over the Internet, and they’re great places to possibly earn free stuff. They offer great items for free; you get to try a new product for free, saving money by not having to pay for a product you may not like.

Plenty of freebie sites offer great products and items for free. However, it pays to be aware that some of these sites are run by scammers. However, how can you tell if they’re fake or real?

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Signing Up for Freebies

When reviewing a freebie set, it’s a good idea to run through these questions. They’ll help you determine if the site could be fake or real:

1). How does the site look? Does the site look professional and modern? Do they offer samples or large, valuable products? Stay away from sites that look or feel wrong. A freebie site, as any other business website, should look clean, easy to navigate, and be presented in a professional manner. The site can be “loud” and colorful—that’s OK. But if it feels off, then avoid the site completely. One more clue to watch for is if the freebie site offers large and/or valuable products. This is probably a scam. Instead, choose sites that offer samples, as these are most often legitimate sites that offer free samples on products you enjoy.

2). What are they offering? Again, avoid any freebie site that offer expensive products. These tend to be scam sites. Opt for those sites that offer samples or products worth only a few pounds.

3). Is there a catch? Every freebie site, legitimate or not, need something from you. They may require you to sign up for a special offer, provide them with some personal information (such as your name & mailing address) and more. If the site’s asking for too much information or asks you to pay money for something, then avoid the site all together. You’re looking for freebies—at most, they may require your name, email address and possibly your email address. Nothing more.

4). Will the site send spam? Many freebie sites ask for your email address. Expect to receive tons of email from them and their various sponsors. To avoid this problem, set up another email address to use only when applying for freebies. Don’t use it for anything else. This way, you’ll keep spam out of your regular inbox, while having all the offers from the freebie sites in one, easy to access place. You can use a service such as Gmail, Yahoo Mail, or one of the other many free email services available.

5). Is this an affiliate site? Freebie sites are known to use affiliate links throughout their sites. This is OK—there’s nothing wrong or illegal with them having affiliate links. However, all affiliate links are required to be marked as such. You should know for sure the link you’re clicking is an affiliate link. This information should be somewhere visible on the website. You might check the site’s terms and conditions or their FAQs section for information on affiliate links.

6). Do you need to dig to find best offers? Many freebie sites place the higher paying offers in more visible areas. As a result, you’ll need to really hunt and dig for the best offers or those that you really want.

How to Tell a Real Freebie Site from a Fake Site

Here are some indicators that a freebie site may be fake:

Ask you to pay: if a freebie requires you to pay, then it’s not really free. Watch out for any sites that offer “freebies” but require you to pay a fee, postage, or any other type of payment. This is a way scammers get your personal information including your name, address, and even your credit card number.

Fake free trials: watch out free “free” trials that require your credit card information. Not all sites that ask this are fake, but use your better judgement. If the site feels wrong or your gut tells you something’s not right, then move on. Only share this information with sites you trust. And before signing up, make sure you know how to cancel, for instance on a special offer that ends after a month.

Watch out for “too good to be true” offers: if something appears to be too good to be true, then avoid this like the plague. You probably already know this, but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded. It’s very tempting to get some really nice, valuable product for free. However, freebies should only be worth a few pounds—not more. It could eb a scam or there may be a catch that’s not readily apparent. Avoid such offers.

Unprofessional website: as noted earlier, a freebie site may be colorful and rather “loud,” however, it should still have a professional design. Sites that are filled with ads should also be avoided. These sites may only want you to click on the ad, or they could even be used by the bad guys to download malware onto your device. You just never know. If a site seems a little off, then avoid it completely.

Demands personal information: if a freebie site requests your credit card number or other personal information, then leave it immediately. A real freebie site may require your name and address, so the freebie can be sent to you, but the site should never go beyond requesting that type of information. And if you are required to create a password for the site, make sure to create a unique password—one that’s not used on any other site or service.

Fake reviews: if the reviews feel fake or unrealistic, then they probably are. You can easily check a site by looking it up on Google. Just type in the name of the site, with the word “reviews” after it in the search box. You’ll soon find out if the company exists, what others have said about the company, and more. If you find the site is unreliable, then it’s either a fake freebie site or is a site looking to scam you. Immediately leave such a site—don’t waste a moment there.

We hope these tips will help you tell whether or not a freebie site is real or fake. Remember to listen to your gut—if something feels odd or wrong about the site, then leave it right away. There are plenty of legit freebie sites to have fun on!