Everybody wants to save money when they are out shopping. One way to get this done is the use of coupons, and apps like Honey have made a killing off of it. Honey’s website even boasts that it has saved $1 billion for consumers thus far, so its safe to say coupons are effective. With that said, there are many scams and counterfeit coupons out on the market, and many ask for your information in order to access them. This is where things get dangerous, and we at Savingadvice are here to help. So, to keep you safe on your journey to frugality, here are the best ways to spot counterfeit coupons.
Date of Expiration
This one is pretty easy. Many consumers will try to use or sell coupons they found online or in the mail. Oftentimes, these coupons have already expired. Make sure you double-check the date on the coupon, especially the year. You’ll tend to see a lot of holiday coupons from previous years, so don’t fall for the trap.
The Company Involved
Always check a company site before giving any information (or money) for coupons. If a coupon isn’t verifiable on a company website, it (most likely) isn’t legit. This isn’t always the case, but if the coupon requires anything from you aside from entering a code or scanning at the store, don’t take the risk. Coupons are usually a way for companies to get more customers in the door, and they often run in tandem with marketing campaigns. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, companies are going to want you to know if they are having a killer sale.
The Coupon Information Center
The CIC is a convenient resource, and keeps an updated list of scam online coupons. It isn’t updated so frequently that it is perfect, but it can still be a helpful first check when deciding whether to trust something. This whole process should be multi-step, and start with the CIC during your evaluation.
Use Your Common Sense
Just like anything else, you need to trust your instinct with counterfeit coupons. Crude pictures on google images, for example, aren’t going to be the most reliable resources. Weird stipulations or the lack of a company logo are also some good red flags. The biggest red flag is the word “free”. If a coupon offers something for free without the need to purchase anything else, odds are it isn’t real. If it is, it is usually something everybody knows about, and is being publicized pretty widely. If these boxes aren’t checked, avoid the random “freebies”. This is especially true if you don’t really have a good idea of the source of the coupon.