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Twitter is filled with these “Free!!” deals (just search for the word “free” and see what slithers out.)

We clicked on the shortened URL in the tweet (you should NOT do this at home) and landed here:

Free iPhone

So, why not try it? It has a privacy policy and addresses to opt out of the massive phone, SMS and email advertising that you’re signing up for (check the fine print.)

What information do you need to decide whether to try this or not?

1. READ the privacy policies, disclaimers and any other information on the page. Usually they’re on the bottom of the page in VERY small letters or grayed out. Cut and paste the text into a word processing program so you can see them. This one shoveled paragraph after paragraph at you clearly stating they were going to use your contact information for lots and lots of advertising and they were going to give it to all their friends and let them have a crack at you too.

2. Use a search engine to check out any addresses listed. Google street view is a help too. If the corporate headquarters is a billboard in London, you might be a bit leery about doing business with them.

We checked out the fine print, including two addresses in this one and got a bit suspicious:
Privacy Policy


“To unsubscribe: You may cancel your SOS subscription and revoke your consent to receive calls at any time by either (a) utilizing the opt-out procedure included in any message you receive; (b) by sending an e-mail that includes your telephone number to; (c) by calling 800-269-0281; or (d) by sending a written request to Worldwide Commerce Associates, 7251 West Lake Boulevard, Suite 300, Las Vegas, NV 89128.”


There doesn’t seem to be a West Lake Boulevard in Las Vegas, although there is a West Lake Mead Boulevard.

Delete/Deactivate Policy

“Users at any time may unsubscribe to our electronic mailings by following the instructions that we include at the end of every mailing. To correct, update or request that we delete information you provided, please contact us via email, or by writing
101-1001 W Broadway
Suite 765
Vancouver, BC V6H-4E4”

A web search for that address shows other businesses there have a V6H 4B1 (not V6H 4E4) postal code.

And Google Maps lookup has it as:
1001 W Broadway
Vancouver, BC V6H 4B1, Canada
Hmmm, a business that makes two mistakes in two addresses. I wonder if it’s real.

Tom Kelchner