Competition Bureau's Top 2 "2 Good 2 B True" Scams Includes False Testimonials and Subscription Traps

Backgrounder


OTTAWA, March 12, 2013 — The Competition Bureau announced today its Top 2 '2 Good 2 B True' Scams, as part of '2 Good 2 B True Day'.

The Competition Bureau's "Top 2 '2 Good 2 B True' Scams" are:

  • False Online Testimonials; and
  • "Subscription Traps" on Mobile Devices.

False Online Testimonials

Consumers and businesses often rely on reviews scrutinizing a product or service when making purchasing decisions. Online testimonials that appear to be from unbiased individuals but are actually paid-for may be malicious or fraudulent and can mislead consumers and businesses.

False online testimonials have received attention from regulators and law enforcement organizations; public relations firms and small businesses have been exposed for having employees posting biased testimonials about products and services, while posing as unaffiliated consumers.

Here are a few potential warning signs for consumers and businesses who rely on online testimonials:

  • Does a review seem overly positive, with no downsides?
  • Does the reviewer provide a name and verifiable identity?
  • Do reviews span a significant period of time or were they are posted over a short period of time?
  • Are there multiple reviews with similar tones, vocabulary or other aspects?

"Subscription Traps"

Subscription traps are deceptive techniques designed to trick consumers and businesses into registering for recurring fees for goods or services.

This could include inferring that a product or service is free when, in fact, there are charges associated with receiving the product or service. Perhaps there are hidden or difficult-to-understand conditions to be met or schemes involving conditional refunds.

Consumers and businesses often do not become aware of subscription traps until they receive a bill or money is taken from their account.

Here are few things you can do to avoid subscription traps:

  • Carefully read all of the terms and conditions.
  • Remember that claims of free or very cheap offers may involve hidden costs.
  • Before sending money or giving financial information, ensure that the recipient is trusted and reliable.
  • Make sure you know how to return goods and obtain refunds.
  • Regularly monitor your bank and credit card statements and report suspicious transactions.

"2 Good 2 B True Day" is part of Fraud Prevention Month, an annual education campaign organized by the Fraud Prevention Forum to improve consumers' and businesses' awareness and understanding of the dangers of fraud. The Fraud Prevention Forum, chaired by the Competition Bureau, includes more than 125 private sector firms, consumer and volunteer groups, government agencies and law enforcement organizations that have banded together to help combat fraud and raise awareness.

The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Media Relations
Telephone: 819-994-5945
Email: media@cb-bc.gc.ca

For general enquiries, please contact:
Information Centre
Competition Bureau
Telephone: 819-997-4282
Toll free: 1-800-348-5358
TTY (hearing impaired): 1-800-642-3844
www.competitionbureau.gc.ca
Enquiries/Complaints
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