Agencies raise awareness of ‘free-trial’ scams

Fraud Prevention Month 2016 this March marks the start of a concerted international effort to tackle the problem of subscription traps, also known as free-trial scams. UK consumers can expect to see a steady flow of information on the issue over the next six months from a number of consumer protection agencies.

Starting tomorrow 8 March, Citizens Advice will publish their findings from a UK-wide consumer survey on subscription traps, gathered from direct reports, victim interviews, and an online survey.

During March the International Consumer Protection Enforcement Network (ICPEN) are running a campaign to try to prevent more consumers falling victim to subscription traps or recurring payment scams. The National Trading Standards eCrime Team and the Competition and Markets Authority will be assisting in the delivery of the message.

In July of this year, the second week of National Scams Awareness Month will give more consumer protection advice on the issue.

Mike Andrews the National Coordinator for the National Trading Standards eCrime Team said:

“Subscription traps or free-trial scams are where rogue traders or scammers hi-jack consumer enthusiasm for ‘free trials’ and trap people into recurring payments that can be difficult to spot before they have lost significant sums of money. Over the last few years subscription traps have become increasingly prevalent, but now a number of agencies have come together to raise awareness of the issue and coordinate action against the worst offenders. We will certainly do all we can to warn consumers of the dangers of free-trial scams and how to avoid them.”

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