Fake Freebie Site Alert

Fake Freebie Alert – Smplit is a Scam Site

I'm on a bit of a fake freebie bender. Last month I discovered the high probability of Samplesso being a fake freebie site. Today, once again, I believe I've discovered that Smplit[.]com is also a fake freebie site.

Before I show my work, I once again want to ask – has any Hiffer actually received one of these freebies over the past five months?! Since October 2023, Smplit has supposedly offered:

  • Spa Luxetique Ocean Breeze Shower Mousse.
    https://smplit[.]com/spa-luxetique-shower-mousse/
    Many freebie sites posted this around October 31, so it's been almost four months since people started requesting it. I even posted it here on HIF – did anybody get it?
  • Spa Luxetique Lavendar Dream Body Cream
    https://smplit[.]com/spa-luxetique-body-cream
  • Secret Key Glow Lipstick
    https://smplit[.]com/secret-key-lipstick
    This seems suspect to me now that I notice the Privacy Policy links to Spa Luxetique, even though I don't think they make this brand.
  • Exrthx Custom Logo 4D Silk Mascara
    https://smplit[.]com/exrthx-mascara/
    Again, the Privacy Policy links to Spa Luxetique, even though I don't think they make this brand. In fact, I don't even know who owns or makes Exrthx!
  • Victoria's Fleur Body Mist
    https://smplit[.]com/victorias-fleur-body-mist/
    This is one of the most recent offers I've come across starting around March 2024.

Again, in the interest of full disclosure, I posted the first four offers listed above to HIF between October 2023 and February 2024. Did anybody actually get these?! I've since removed all of these posts after my investigation.

Why I Think Smplit Contains Fake Freebies

Once again, I'm happy to show my work and walk you through all of the 🚩 that I uncovered regarding this website.

  • The company is rather new – the domain was registered, but never used, from 2017-2019. Then it was recently re-registered on 2023-07-21.
  • The oldest snapshot from 2023 says they're working with 350 brands right from the start? It also contains a lot of clues about the amateurism of its owner:
    • The bottom left says “TheNextTech is a technology-related news and article publishing portal where our techie and non-techie readers, interest in technological stuff, read us with equal curiosity. We hustle to keep them updated.” What does this have to do with samples and who is TheNextTech? It looks like they copied another website's content when setting up Smplit and forgot to change this.
    • The original links to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram don't work.
    • The email address says [email protected], but actually hyperlinks to a different email. More on this later.
    • Their About Us page talks about SampleSpot. Who is this?!
    • Their contact page lists the following info (which I'll also address later):
      USA
      347 Fifth Ave., NY, NY 10016
      212-858-9393

      Canada
      32121 McCowan Rd, Scarborough, ON M1S 3Y6
      416-572-5222

  • The archive snapshot from August 2023 is also revealing. It links to @InfoSmplit, which is a now-suspended Twitter account. It also links to this Facebook page, which was created on August 7, 2023, but didn't begin posting until February 2024.
  • It's not until their October 2023 snapshot that we see they've finally cleaned up the branding on their About Us page, as well as their footer info. This is when we see their contact page change as well:

  • The email address listed in their footer says [email protected], yet when clicked it takes you to [email protected] What the what?!? This is also another odd UK connection that raises 🚩 for me.
  • Their site currently links to @smplitsamples, which is a brand new account as of February 2024. It had 309 followers when I began researching and has grown to 612, as of publication. However, I strongly believe they purchased the first 300 followers and suspect they purchase an additional 300 followers this month. These accounts all have the tell-tale sign of being bots, which is a username that starts with a name or word and ends with a string of random letters.
  • Meanwhile, their Facebook page contains 912 followers, as of publication, almost all of which have Asian names. This again is a tell-tale sign of purchasing low quality, bot followers in bulk, which is aimed at creating a sense of legitimacy to anybody who just looks at the fan count total. This is especially true for a site purporting to have a large US, UK, and Canadian presence that works with 160+ brands and has 700,000+ reviews.

    I have screenshotted some of the bots here in case they try to scrub their account.

  • The source code from their websites contains meta data that looks to have been copy & pasted from TopSubscriptionBoxes.co.uk.
  • The stock artwork on their site appears to come from a blog post from another website in 2017.

I mean, look, at this point it's pretty clear to me that this is a fake freebie site. I feel bad, because unlike the other scam freebie site I exposed recently, Smplit slipped under my radar for much longer. After Juls' death, I kinda went on auto-pilot regarding freebies, because they certainly didn't seem to matter among all my grief. But these two recent investigations of mine have gotten me back on high alert regarding fake freebies!

Again, I'm interested to hear if y'all have received any of their supposed freebies over the past few months! Until I am convinced otherwise, I will withhold any of their future offers and I apologize for not catching this issue earlier.


Scam Alert Fake Freebie

Fake Freebie Alert – Samplesso is a Scam Site

So the headline pretty much sums up my thoughts here. After digging into their website this week, I believe Samplesso[.]com is a scam site that only intends to harvest our information in order to resell it.

I recently posted my findings to Reddit, but I wanted to repost them here with a bit more elaboration.

Before I get started, I have a question – has any Hiffer actually received one of freebies listed below over the past two months?! Since January 2024, Samplesso has posted links supposedly offering:

  • Tiffany & Co Rose Gold eau de Parfum Intense
    https://samplesso[.]com/2024-01-Tiffany-co-rg-q93ec07de311/
    Many freebie sites posted this around January 4, so it's been almost two months since people started requesting it and should have arrived by now.
  • Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Push Up Lashes! Mascara
    https://samplesso[.]com/2024-01-charlotte-tilbury-35273ee1a7d246/
  • Lancome Clarifique Dual Face Essence
    https://samplesso[.]com/2024-01-lancome-clarifique-essence-35273ee1a7d40246/
  • Banila Co 3-in-1 Clean it Zero Cleansing Balm
    https://samplesso[.]com/samplesso-us-2024-02-banila-co-cleansing-balm-32us53se142b71/
  • Guerlain Aqau Allegoria Granada Salvia eau de Parfum
    https://samplesso[.]com/2024-02-guerlain-aqua-allegoriags-12e92a3110/

I'll be honest here too – I initially fell for their scam! I posted both the Charlotte Tilbury mascara and the Lancome Clarifique on January 22, 2024. It wasn't until I went to post the Banila offer this week that I squinted at my laptop and took a beat. Something just seemed off, so I began digging.

Why I Think Samplesso Contains Fake Freebies

I've been running HIF and vetting freebies for 20 years now. This company has a lot of 🚩 that have my Freebie Senses tingling.

  1. The company is brand new – the domain was registered on 2023-12-31, making it only only 54 days old, as of today.
  2. Meanwhile their About Us page says they were “founded in 2021.”
  3. The footer of their website has a typo that reads: “Sampleoo: Redefining discovery with curated free samples, connecting brands and consumers in a journey of trust and growth.”

    Sampleoo[.]com was registered mere days earlier on 2023-12-26. Both Sampleoo[.]com and Samplesso[.]com were registered with Namecheap and have the exact same Cloudflare Name Servers of Kim.NS.cloudflare and Lakas.NS.cloudflare. This is pretty indicative of being purchased & operated by the same person or entity.
  4. Google Cache luckily still has a snapshot of Sampleoo and the blog articles are an exact copy of Samplesso.
  5. Back to Samplesso, judging from their blog URL structure, it appears they're attempting to backdate their articles to 2022 in order to make their company appear older than they are. There is no WHOIS history on the domain before December 2023, so it's impossible for this article to be from March 27, 2022.  
     
    This is a very old trick that scammers use attempting to fool Google into thinking they have a longer presence on the Internet than they actually do. Google doesn't really fall for this much anymore, but it's a tool that old scammers haven't seemed to stop reaching for.
  6. None of their listed staff are on LinkedIn, nor do they have any photos. I can't find proof these people exist at all.

     

    • Deborah Holmes​ is listed as their Chief Technology Officer
    • Bruce Stevens is listed as their Chief Marketing Officer
    • Bobby Harris is listed as their CEO & Founder

     
    These are all C-level positions that real life people proudly proclaim on their LinkedIn profiles, but when I search for these names within the UK, along with job titles of “chief,” CTO, CMO, or founder, I get zero results for all of them. This is unusual. If I search for other sample providers, such as SoPost or PinchMe, you'll see a lot of employees listed.

  7. Their listed phone number (+44 203 205 7200) and listed address (Mayfair Pl, London W1J 8AJ United Kingdom​) are for a virtual office, not a real physical location.
  8. Their testimonials seem fake af. They bought the domain on 12-31-2023 and yet a day later on 01-01-2024 they had testimonials from London, Toronto, California, and Australia πŸ€”
  9. The testimonial thumbnails look like GAN photos of fake people, especially the women from London and California. Look at the ears – the way they're mashed and mangled are dead giveaways for GAN images.

Individually, none of these are indictments against the company if they're actually sending out samples! But if nothing is arriving via mail, in addition to all the red flags above, then I'm calling this company a fake.

I'll even go so far as to say I have a suspect as to who the owner of this fake freebie site is! There was a prolific fake freebie scammer in the UK a decade ago who I chased off the internet and I have a hunch they're back here. But until I can gather more information, I'm going to hold off on naming & shaming them.

And look, this sucks that I didn't see the scam ahead of time. I'm usually really good at spotting these, but nobody's perfect, right? I know people kinda roll their eyes at the idea of being a “freebie hunter” who vets offers, but I hope this post pulling back the curtain gives you a little sense of the work I do in order to protect your valuable data and personal privacy. I take fake freebies seriously and I do my absolute best every day to make sure they never find their way onto HIF.


Update: Right before I published this post, my contact at Charlotte Tilbury Beauty sent me this message:

[Samplesso] doesn't appear to be a legitimate partner of Charlotte Tilbury Beauty.

So that's pretty damning!

Why Do Scammers Post Fake Freebies?

The good news is nothing terrible is going to happen to you here! Your life isn't going to significantly change because you gave some unscrupulous person your email and mailing address. Your identity isn't going to be stolen or anything crazy like that, because it's not like you gave out enough contact information for somebody to open a credit card or bank account in your name.

So why do scammers even bother making fake freebie sites like this? It's all a numbers game. When you sign up, you're providing them a “lead” that they can turn around and sell to other marketers.

I bet you've received a phone call or twenty over the past few years about your car warranty being expired. Or maybe you've had a piece of junk mail slip into your email inbox or physical mailbox. No matter what we're talking about – be it a robo call, direct mailer, or email – somebody had to know that you were a person to contact.

They could scrape this information from the public internet, but there's no guarantee the address, email, or phone number they find is accurate or current. And it costs money to make those calls or send those emails. Even if it's only a fraction of a penny each time – that adds up when you're contacting a million people, so you don't want to send John Doe a piece of junk mail to an address he hasn't lived at in 10 years.

So these spam marketers (and honestly, even not-so-spammy marketers) purchase giant databases of recent, active leads. And what better place to get them from a fake freebie site!? You can imagine if you're spamming a health serum, then you'd love a list of people who recently confirmed their contact information for a bunch of fake makeup freebie offers, right?

This is one of the main reasons I always suggest using a freebie email address and making a free Google Voice number.

So yeah, even if you signed up for the previous two fake freebies that slipped under my radar last month, you should be fine and there's nothing serious to worry about. At worst, you might see a small uptick of spam emails over the coming months.

And the best case scenario is some marketer who is on the verge of purchasing Samplesso's leads will first Google them and find this post πŸ™‚


Free USPS Informed Delivery

Free USPS Informed Delivery

Ever wish you could see the freebies arriving in your mailbox before they show up? I know I have! What you may not realize is that you can!

The USPS offers a free service called Informed Delivery. Each morning, they'll email scanned photos of your mail hours before it's delivered!

I started using Informed Delivery during their 2015 soft trial. It was originally super buggy, but today I've actually come to rely on it. Not only does it actually work, but as of today over 25 million Americans are using this free service!

My emails typically arrive between before 8:00am each morning I have mail coming. If I don't have any mail on the way, I don't get an email. Only ~60% of my emails actually have scanned photos, but regardless the emails themselves are nice since they let me know I have mail to grab. And when there are photos of freebies, I tend to get a little excited! Between the emails and then actually getting the freebies, it's like double the joy πŸ™‚

Have any other Hiffers used Informed Delivery yet? What did you think?


Free Samples and Freebies from Amazon!

Amazon now sends out Freebies & Samples!

Now you see it, now you don't! Amazon quietly shut down this program in 2020. πŸ™

I was surprised to learn Amazon quietly launched a pilot program towards offering freebies! Their initial foray into the freebie world is technically called their Product Sampling program, but differs slightly than how we're used to getting samples.

Unlike traditional freebies, where you request a sample and receive it weeks later, Amazon is using a secret sauce to randomly send out freebies. Some users reported receiving free samples related to previous purchases, while others hinted all they did was have a lot of similar products sitting in their cart!

Initial freebies have been reported from all the usual players – Folgers, Maybelline, Purina, and KIND.

In the long run, this will help speed up the death of freebie sites like HIF. Whereas the Golden Freebies Years (2008-2013) had 5+ samples and freebies every day, now we're down to much, much less. One of the large reasons why is because companies began demanding more analytics, data, and a higher ROI for their freebies. With Amazon, they get all three at a fraction of the cost.

But in the short run, hey, more freebies!

How to Get Amazon Freebies

One great feature of Amazon freebies are they're open to everyone – not just Prime members!

All you have to do is make sure you have a default address selected under Your Account > Your Addresses. Then make sure you have the correct sampling option selected.

So have any Hiffers randomly received any freebies from Amazon yet? If so, what did ya get?!


Costco vs Sams Club Free Samples

Comparing Costco and Sam’s Club Freebies

This article is freebie-adjacent, so I felt like sharing it here. Business Insider compared Costco and Sam's Club free samples and came away with a clear winner.

On paper, Sam's Club and Costco are almost identical – both are membership-based warehouse stores that offer customers discounted prices on products bought in bulk and other services such as eye and ear exams, a pharmacy, one-hour photo printing, and a food court.

We decided to put one of their best-known perks to the test: the free samples.

Both chains are known for their generous sample policy and customers frequently brag on Twitter about heading to the stores for a free meal.

There is a method to their madness, however. By offering free samples these stores improve the shopping experience for the customer and make them more loyal. It's also a way for customers to try new products and spur them into buying more.

“What started as a fun idea more than 30 years ago is now a core experience that our members love. Sharing samples is a great way to highlight cool, new items and showcase the quality and value offered by our curated assortment,” a spokesperson for Sam's Club told Business Insider.

Who do you think won?


A Freebie Helped Save a Lost Toy

This isn't a freebie, but I recently read an article on a boy who lost his favorite toy in an airport and loved this part:

If a boy named Owen suspects his stuffed tiger named Hobbes has a secret life, the staff of Tampa International Airport won't disagree. Owen recently lost Hobbes at the airport β€” and when he reclaimed the tiger, he also received photos of Hobbes touring the facility.

When Owen returned from Texas, he was reunited with Hobbes and given a bound book of photographs that showed what his tiger had been up to. It was all the brainchild of Airport Operations Center Manager Tony D'Aiuto, who says he used a coupon to make the photo book at a drugstore.

Look at that! A freebie (and a little elbow grease) putting smiles on faces worldwide!


Juls & Goob Dressed Like Cows

Freebie Review – Dress Like A Cow Day!

I woke up last Friday already knowing about the free Slurpee's at 7-11, but it wasn't until around noon that I logged onto HIF and noticed the Dress Like A Cow Chick-Fil-A freebie. I didn't have anything planned for the day, my little sister was pretty bored, so a few hours later…

Read more


The Power of FREE!

The following text was taken from the Predictably / Irrational blog that is written by Dan Ariely. He's recently written a book titled Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions and I thought the text below was really interesting in relation to our love for freebies. Something interesting to keep in mind and perspective.

In one of our projects, Kristina Shampanier, Nina Mazar, and I examined whether our reaction to Free! is just a rational reaction to a low price (a very low price) or if it is an irrational overreaction to Free! We carried out a set of experiments in which we measured not only what people chose but also what they gave up in the process. By doing so we were able to show that Free! can tempt us so much that we are willing to forgo a really good deal for a mediocre one simply because it is Free! For now let's skip the experiments and consider the following thought-experiment:

Consider how long you would be willing to stand in line for a free Ben & Jerry's ice cream cone. Let's assume that your answer is 20 minutes and that the cost of a Ben & Jerry's ice cream cone is $1.45. Now answer this: would you be willing to stand in line for 20 minutes for $1.45 in cash? No way.

This is exactly what the experiments showed; when something is Free! we get excited and as a consequence we are willing to give up better deals – not to mention our time, money, etc.


The Future Of Business Is Free!

This isn't really a freebie, in fact, it's not a freebie at all. But I just read this article on Wired.com about how businesses and companies are embracing the concept of giving more and more things away for free and I thought some other freebie fanatics might enjoy reading it as well. It doesn't focus on the world of freebies as we know it, where we sign up for free samples or swag, but instead looks at how companies like Google, Yahoo, Gillette, and more make billions while still giving most, if not all, of their services away for free.