Who doesn’t like a free sample these days? And thanks to the internet, getting free samples has never been easier. You don’t have to fill out any forms or pay postage to mail them; instead you just fill out your information directly online, submit it to the giveaway company and your free samples arrive in the mail. But how safe is this process? The saying goes, “nothing in life is free”, so what is at the expense of signing up for free samples?
For starters, you’re giving away a slice of your online privacy in exchange for the samples. Giveaway companies collect such information as names, emails and addresses any time you fill out a form for a free sample. Most of the time, people don’t think much of this process, as the sample has to get to them somehow, so it doesn’t seem out of place to request this information.
What happens however, is that this information can be sold to third parties. And in the meantime, sites like Google will be watching you as you visit these free giveaway sites, which means you’ll be linked with more ads on your screen prompting you to take advantage of other offers.
While free samples can be worth it, it’s always important to evaluate the program you’re entering into and if the offering of your personal information is worth it. If you’re in dire need of baby samples for example, you may feel fine getting free diaper samples, wipes and baby products in exchange for your name and address. Just remember that as enticing as these free offers sound, they are often in the form of one diaper or a packet of baby lotion.
Another thing to keep in mind is that giveaway sites may also have third parties advertising on their site, and these companies will have separate privacy policies. In this case, one simple click can have you signing up with a completely different company without you even knowing it.
Also look to see if the site is in compliance with the appropriate safety measures such as COPPA and the regulations of your state. While nothing is ever foolproof, you can certainly enjoy your free samples if you know you are not continually putting your privacy on the line.