Protect Yourself From a Subscription Box Scam!

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Did you know that scammers are posing as subscription box companies – either operating or launching a new one – in order to take advantage of your desire for the next new thing? Yes, new subscription boxes are fun – I love them to pieces! – but I want to remind you to use your own best judgment when you hear of a brand new box! Here are some pointers on evaluating subscription box companies to determine whether a new monthly subscription is legit.

Does the subscription have a website?

Does that new beauty box have its own website ? If not, think twice, although this isn’t a dealbreaker. Many subscriptions launch with what’s called a squeeze page – something designed to get you to sign up for notifications of their launch. Perhaps it’s just a new branch of an existing company, and they should be able to point you in that direction (with links from the existing company page to the new page). If it doesn’t have it’s own web presence, you might pass on this company or look for other indicators of trust, like the following:

Does it have any sort of web presence, like social media?

Sometimes social media is used to launch a new monthly subscription. This is a great way to build buzz. But if a new company pops up overnight with 15,000 followers – well, is it really that popular? Birchbox has nearly 50,000 followers on Instagram. How would a few-weeks old company have 15,000 of them?  The simple answer – they bought them on Fiverr or another similar service. Yep, you can buy followers (and just about anything else) on Fiverr.

Does it have a privacy policy?

Is the website for a new box company collecting email addresses without a privacy policy in place? And do they provide any corporate information so you can trust that they might do what they say they will do with your email address — and nothing else? If they don’t have a privacy policy and refuse to provide it, steer clear – especially if they want your friends’ email addresses too! Every company collecting email addresses should be able to tell you 1) what they are doing with them and 2) who they really are.  Even if they’re not collecting money, your email address can be sold to an advertising/web tracking database.  They can make money even if you’re not giving them any.

Are there reviews?

New monthly subscriptions will typically contact subscription box bloggers or other relevant media outlets and hand out their boxes like mad to help build credentials and show people what they’re getting. If you don’t know what’s in the box besides that it’s “obviously amazing,” take a pass, there are tons of subscription boxes calling your name that are reputable and trustworthy. I can’t guarantee any company in my list, but I haven’t heard of any complaints that any of them are a scam, either.

Ask a blogger!

Heard of a new company and nobody has blogged about it yet? Ask a blogger! Whether it’s me or someone else, don’t be afraid to write and say, hey, have you heard of this new company, what do you think?

You can email me at any time at [email protected] I’d be happy to answer your questions.

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  • Lindsey Jordan
    04.13.16

    I purchased a 3 month CandyBox subscription for my wife in early February for Valentines day. It is mid April and I have not received a product or any communication from CandyBox. Until yesterday when I received an email letting me know my subscription was about to renew.

    I responded to the email and let them know that I would be willing to continue my subscription if they would refund me for the boxes that hadn’t made it to my house. I was trying to give the benefit of the doubt because shipping can be a pain.

    I have received no response to my email, so I went to the candybox website. There is no contact phone number for this company. THIS IS A HUGE RED FLAG. There is also no contact e-mail address provided. I filled out their ‘contact us’ form with my story and complaints and have still heard nothing from Candy Box.

    DO NOT SUBSCRIBE TO CANDY BOX. THEY WILL TAKE YOUR MONEY AND YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO CONTACT THEM FOR A REFUND. DID I MENTION YOU GET NO CANDY?

    This is their site: http://getcandybox.com/

  • Tina Ames
    01.20.16

    You are very welcome,have a great day

  • Tina Ames
    01.14.16

    I recently subscribed to a few boxes that I am hearing bad things about one is Candy Box and another is Monthly Munchy have you heard anything on these ones…I am subscribed to 50 boxes half of them I signed up for this month,I had to cancel my bank card because someone was doing all kinds of purchases,I assumed its one of the boxes I signed up for,the problem is I dont know which one….I get my new card next week and I dont know which ones to update my new info with because I am so scared this will happen again….I can not believe people do this to people its so sad.

    • PA Anna
      01.16.16

      Tina, I read your comment. It’s hard when someone steals your credit card number. I hope it did not cause a lot of problems for you. It happened a few weeks ago to my sister shortly after using it at a brick and mortar store.

      I’m not that familiar with the snack boxes because my two boys gobble up snacks!

      • Tina Ames
        01.20.16

        Thank you,my bank refunded my money and the person that did it was though a company called Beauty Army…..Please do not order from them,they closed their page on Facebook and I hear they are out of business,but if you go to their website and sign up they are still taking your money and not shipping you anything….Its so sad how so many people can ruin it for others,thanks for listening and if anyone asks about this company please let them know,thanks again and have a great day.

        • Tina Ames
          01.20.16

          And FYI I got a Box from Monthly Munchy and it was a great box,still haven’t heard anything from the other one called Candy Box that I subscribed too…if I hear anything more I will let you know

        • PA Anna
          01.20.16

          Thank you for the update. I am sorry you had a bad experience. I am glad that the bank resolved it for you.

        • Brandy
          01.20.16

          Thank you for updating us Tina – I am updating their directory entry.

  • Growing Up Madison
    08.14.13

    Don’t know how I missed this post. I tend to stick with the popular ones. Right now my toddler only gets 3 boxes that are designed for her age but looking into new ones so I’m definitely going to be aware.

    • Brandy
      08.14.13

      Hm, perhaps because it was on the weekend! If you ever have any questions about a particular box or want suggestions (again! I know we weren’t very successful the last time), let me know!

  • Rachael
    08.14.13

    Great tips. I never thought of these before.

  • COASAHM (@COASAHM12)
    08.13.13

    Wow, never thought about sub box scams. Crooks these days are everywhere aren’t they?

  • Monique Burkes (@armsofasister)
    08.13.13

    Good idea. Never thought about the fact that it may be a scam!

  • Rachel @ Followinginmyshoes.com
    08.13.13

    I pinned this — I know a LOT of people who fall into each new company that pops up offering boxes of snacks, crafts, etc.

  • Mary
    08.10.13

    Would this apply to the new sub box that has been blogged about today?

  • Sharon
    08.10.13

    These are great tips. Do you know of any that are questionable?

    • Brandy
      08.10.13

      There’s one that’s going around that I am personally wary of. There’s also another that on and off takes people’s money and then doesn’t provide any product – they say they are “restructuring” constantly.