How to Spot Fake Coupons

If you like a good bargain, beware of phony coupons. Wrong information and long redemption period are just some of the things I’ve come across while bargain hunting. Here are some of the other characteristics of phony coupons.

1. If you come across a coupon that doesn’t list a product size, barcode or expiration date, then its probably a fake coupon. Also I always look at the logo. Its hard to replicate the same images, colors and lettering as on the product with at-home design software. So if something looks off, then you know its not the real thing. These are usually the easiest mistakes to checking the authenticity of a coupon.

2. Another thing to look for is super long expiration dates. Valid coupons typically have short expiration dates which is usually a few weeks to three moths. Phony coupons have much longer redemption dates, like six months to a year. Manufacturers are not going to give coupons that can be used two years from now because the want customers right now.

3. My coupon motto is if seems too good to be true, it probably is. So if you find a link on social networking site that takes you to a site offering coupons for free products, its most likely fake. Companies rarely offer freebie coupons these days and most stopped making print-out versions available on the internet. Being web savvy will save you a lot of time and money.

4. Another scam that’s popular is coupons via email. If you get a lot of spam, then you’ve probably seen in your inbox forwarded emails that contain coupons for freebies. If its not from the manufacturer, a store or a website you’re familiar with, I would suggest deleting it. Most manufactures use security code that prevent others from forwarding coupons electronically.

Coupon fraud is on the rise, hurting both businesses and shoppers. As more fake coupons surface, businesses could end up offering less coupons and raising prices even higher, leading to less savings for shoppers. So before you head to the store, make sure your coupon is the real thing. There’s nothing worse than seeing the discounts you’d counted on disappear at the checkout, when you find out you have phony coupons. Also be careful of fake gift cards that could put you at risk for identity theft. Scams are easy to spot, you just have to know what to look for.

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