Coupons: spot the fake from the real deal - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Coupons: spot the fake from the real deal

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Look for legal language and expiration dates. Online coupons need to match manufacturer requirements. Look for legal language and expiration dates. Online coupons need to match manufacturer requirements.
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

In today's economy, coupons are a common way for people to save a few dollars. Unfortunately, it's also an easy way to fall victim to scams, so here's a list of sites to click past when clipping your savings.

Scam coupon sites often ask for your contact information.

You need to make a purchase, but you hope to save money by finding a coupon online. With a simple Internet search, coupon hunters can find dozens of websites. Most of the online coupons promise a modest 10%-15% discount. But one offers a significantly better deal: 50% off your purchase.

While the website looks official, and may even use the logo of the business, the site will ask you for information, like your email address and telephone number, promising that your coupon will be sent to you.

When you complete the form, however, you may be taken to a promotion for an unrelated product. It may be anything from car loans to pharmaceuticals. Other sites do provide fake coupons to print, meaning that consumers don't know they were scammed until the store clerk rejects their coupon.

This "bait and switch" is a way for crooked businesses to collect names and contact info for resale. If your information is sold, you will start receiving spam calls, text messages or emails to the contact information you provided.

It is easy to copy a business' logo and make a fake coupon look real. Identify fake coupons by the following warning signs from the Better Business Bureau:

  • It's the only website with that great deal. If most websites offer a code for 10% off, a 75% off offer is likely a scam.
  • Be wary of all high value offers. A promo for a $500 gift card is nearly always fake.
  • Look for legal language and expiration dates. Online coupons need to match manufacturer requirements.
  • Never pay for coupons. Don't be tricked into paying for something that's actually free.
  • Watch for "bait and switch" tactics. This scam offers you online coupon codes and, once you agree, requires you fill in a form with personal information.
  • If you suspect that a coupon is fake, check it against this list. The non-profit Coupon Information Center maintains a list of fraudulent coupons.

Check out Coupon Bug for a complete list of savings for groceries and other services that you can print from your computer.

Copyright 2013 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

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