Bait and Switch: How to Avoid New Coupon Scams

Posted on 02/19/2013

An increasing number of us are heading to the internet to find and print coupons. While it's an opportunity for shoppers to save money, scammers are seeing it as an opportunity to prey on the vulnerable. The Better Business Bureau calls this a bait and switch coupon scam that promises savings, but delivers spam.

The Scam
If you've ever done a Google search hunting for a coupon code you probably noticed dozens of sites offering money saving deals. Scam coupon sites lure users in with opportunities to score coupons or coupon codes, but in order to access the coupons you must hand over your contact information. The site may look official, but as soon as you complete a contact form you'll be taken to a promotion for an unrelated product like a car loan or pharmaceuticals. Other sites offer fake printable coupons that will most likely be rejected by the cashier. You probably won't save any money and chances are you'll start receiving spam phone calls, text message and emails.

Is the Deal Too Good to Be True?
So how do you avoid becoming a bait and switch victim? If most coupon sites are promising a 10-20 percent savings, don't be lured in by the site promising a 75 percent discount code. The Better Business Bureau says that's a red flag that the deal isn't legitimate.

Don't Trade Information for Savings
It's true that many companies now try to get you on their email list in exchange for a coupon, but make sure the site is reputable. Look for legal language, expiration dates and be wary of abnormally high value offers.

Don't Pay for Coupons
The Better Business Bureau says paying for coupons is a bad idea. You could end up paying for fakes. It's best to get them from reliable sources like straight from the manufacturer or your Sunday newspaper inserts.

Stay Informed About Fakes
Save $9 on any Lysol Neutra Air Freshmatic Kit. Save $5 on any Frank's Hot Sauce. Save $4.50 on any Kleenex Tissues 4-pack. All of these high value coupons have one thing in common-- they're fake. Counterfeit coupons make the rounds regularly. The Coupon Information Corporation, or CIC, attempts to list as many fakes as possible on their website. If you think a coupon might be counterfeit, check to see if it's on this list.

By Alison Storm

One coupon we can promise is not a fake is offered by Puritan's Pride. When you shop through this link you will save $10 on orders of $75 or more, plus you will receive free shipping! Offer ends 02/24/2013.

* Hot deals expire quickly. This deal may no longer be valid.

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