If you are new to getting freebies and signing up for offers on the Internet, here are a few tips to make the process a smooth one.
Filling Out The Form
- Select the first box with your mouse and fill in the information requested.
- Using the Tab key on the keyboard will help you move from box to box quickly.
- Look for asterisks. If there is not an asterisk next to the box, the information asked for is not required.
- Most forms will use drop down boxes at some point. Using your mouse, click the down arrow on the right side of the box. Click the appropriate select using the mouse or the arrow keys on the keyboard. If the list in the drop down menu is long, there will be a slider which you can move up and down with your mouse to view all possible choices.
- Some companies use this as an opportunity to do market research. In these situations there will be questions either before or after the form, which may or may not be required. Use your mouse to click on or fill in the appropriate answers for the questions.
- At the end or the form or questions, there will be a button you must press to submit your request.
- After your request has been submitted, you will most likely be redirected to a “Thank You” page. Make sure to read the information on this page. Some offers will require you to confirm an email they will send to the address you entered in the form before they send the item out.
- Just before, or just after you submit you may come across a Captcha. Captcha is a type of challenge-response used to ensure that request is not being generated by a computer. It will most likely be one or two words which you must type in a box exactly as you see. The Captcha could also be in the form of a very simple question like “what is the color of grass.”
- If you are like me, you will be signing up for many free offers each day. Filling out form after form can be quite tedious. To make this process faster, you can use autofill software. Autofill software remembers information such as your name and address and automatically fills in the blanks for you on forms. Roboform is a great free autofill software download. The Google toolbar has an autofill function and Firefox offers a free Autofill Form Add On for their browser.
Protecting Yourself and Your Computer
Date of Birth – I don’t feel that giving out this information is necessary, so unless I’m making a purchase I will just use a fake one. If a site requires you to be 18 or 21 to enter (tobacco or alcohol) you will need to provide accurate information.
Credit Card Information – This is not usually required for your basic freebie but may be for free trials. Never give this information if you do not feel it is necessary for the offer or if you do not trust the website. Always do your research first.
Personal Information – You may be asked to provide demographic information such as age, ethnicity, household income etc. Usually the company offering the freebie is just interested in finding out what types of people are using their products, but this information is not normally required. If you are being asked questions you are not comfortable answering, just move on to another freebie.
Your Computer- The Freebie Blogger is a safe place to find freebies but you can never be sure what harmful site you may come across when searching for freebies on your own. It is always a good idea to have updated virus protection software for your computer. I often list free after rebate anti-virus software here.
Cutting Down on the Junk
Many of the freebies you will find here at The Freebie Blogger will require you to fill out a form or sign up to receive them. Typically they will ask for your name, address, email and phone number as well as some demographic or market research questions. While this information is collected for legitimate purposes, it can also lead to junk mail, spam emails, and phone calls from solicitors if you are not careful. Keep reading and I’ll let you in on how to keep getting all the free stuff without the annoying side effects.
Home Address – Most freebies are sent via the USPS, so you will need to provide your correct name and address. Alway check the fine print because some freebies will not ship to a PO Box. Using my real name and address has never been a problem for me. Just make sure that if there are any boxes on the form about receiving third party offers, you have marked them “no thanks.”
Email Address – Anytime I give out my email address, I understand that there may be some unwanted email (spam) headed my way. There are also plenty of freebies that require you to sign up to an email list, and they can really build up in a hurry. To keep your regular home email clean, sign up for a free email account that you use just when you sign up for freebies. Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo all offer free accounts that you can sign up for in just a few minutes. You’ll probably just receive a lot of harmless advertisements, but why let them fill up your hard drive at home?
If you do start receiving large amounts of spam, most virus scan programs, like McAfee and Norton, have built in spam filters that work with your email program. I also like MailWasher Free, which gives me the option to ‘bounce’ emails back to the source. The spammer receives a message that the email was undeliverable, and that is usually enough to get your address off of the list, because they don’t want their in-box filling up either!
Phone Number – Some offers will also ask you to fill in your phone number. Unlike your address, they don’t need your phone number to send you a freebie, so if it is not required on the form, don’t fill it in. Instead get a free online voice mail box at Simple Voice Box or JConnect. Some forms will allow you to fill in “UL” or “unlisted.” And remember to register your home and cell phone numbers to the National Do Not Call Registry.
I have never received unwanted calls after sending a text message to sign up for a freebie, but there have been a few that required 4 or 5 texts to complete the offer.