Pennsylvania – Did you just sign up to get a “free” product online? It might not be free after all.

The Better Business Bureau and Federal Trade Commission are warning people about scams involving “Free Trial Offers.”

The agencies have seen a surge in complaints over the last two years about products that were supposed to be “free” costing consumers huge monthly subscription fees.

For example, one popular scam involves a face cream that ends up costing more than $100 per month.

BBB and FTC says they’re also seeing a spike in fake celebrity endorsements for products.

How to avoid being scammed by a free trial offer, and what to do afterwards:

  • Research the company online. Type the company name into an online search and see what other people are saying. If yo see complaints from other customers, be aware that there might be a “catch” to what otherwise seems like a good offer.
  • Find the terms and conditions. Always look for the fine print. If you can’t find them or can’t understand what you’re agreeing to, don’t sign up for the subscription.
  • Be careful of pre-checked boxes. If you sign up for something online, look for parts of the form that are already checkmarked. That checkmark might give the company permission to keep billing you or sending you more items.
  • Look for the info on how to cancel future shipments. Is there a limited time to respond or cancel the service? When do you have to pay?
  • Read your credit card and debit card statements. You’ll know right away if you’re being charged for something that you didn’t order.
  • If you see strange charges, contact the company directly to discuss the situation. If that doesn’t work, call your credit card company to dispute the charge.