Live 5 Scambusters: BBB issues warning about retail coupon scams on social media

VIDEO: BBB warns about fake coupons on social media

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Shops and restaurants are reopening and would love to have your business but they aren't offering unbelievable deals and coupons on social media.

Whether you’re working from home, furloughed, or one of the thousands of South Carolinians to file for unemployment in recent weeks, you’ve probably spent a good bit of time online. While you’re on social media looking for work or ways to save money, scam artists are trying to take advantage.

The Better Business Bureau says fake retail coupons are popping up on Facebook again. These fake coupons are trying to steal your identity or put malware on your computer.

The BBB warning highlights these fake coupons from grocers like Aldi and Trader Joe’s. Both are offering a $250 coupon if you share a link. The link takes you to a survey. Don’t believe it, click it, or share it.

Some of the fake coupons may reference the coronavirus, COVID-19, or social distancing like one claiming to offer a $100 gift card from Starbucks.

While Facebook hasn’t stopped these ads, some do come with a warning. If you find a fake coupon or ad you can report it to the social media platform.

The Better Business Bureau offers the following tips for identifying coupon scams:

  • Be skeptical. The better the deal looks, the more likely it’s fake. It is easy for scammers to steal logos and images of established businesses to create counterfeit coupons.
  • Check directly with the source. To verify the legitimacy of an offer, visit the company's website to look for the coupon or directly contact the company.
  • Look at the expiration date. Most coupons have one. The lack of one is an indication that the coupon may be phony. Remember, coupons for free items usually expire quicker than others.
  • Verify the source. If a coupon comes to you in an email, hover your mouse over the link (without clicking) and the URL destination address should appear. If that address looks like a random assortment of numbers and letters, do not click on it.
  • Check to see if the website is secure. There should be an "s" after "http" in the URL to indicate it's a secure site. No "s" may mean it's a phishing attempt to get your information or to install malware on your computer.
  • Do a web search. Searching by the offer, business name and the word "scam" can often bring up information showing which offers are fake.
  • Don’t share your personal information. Legitimate businesses do not ask for private information such as credit card numbers or bank accounts for coupons or giveaways. Any promotional offer that asks for personal information is almost always a scam.

If you have a scam story to share, email Kyle Jordan at Scams@live5news.com.

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