Countless consumers have been duped by fake gift cards and coupons; finding themselves victims of credit card fraud and identity theft. In one of the biggest internet hoaxes to date, some 37,000 unsuspecting Facebook users tried to score $1,000 IKEA gift cards through a bogus fan page. In order to claim the gift card, they were asked to provide personal information such as their name, address, date of birth and phone number. Some users were redirected to a page that asked them to supply credit card info as well.
And more recently, police raided a home in Arizona and thwarted a multi-million counterfeit coupon operation. They found an estimated $25 to $30 million dollars in fake coupons, many of which were sold online.
Frito-Lay took a hit when a phony coupon offering a free $5 bag of Doritos began circulating. The fake was accepted at some grocery stores before Frito-Lay caught on.
Before you provide any personal information online or grant access to your hard-earned cash, read these tips on how to spot fake coupons and gift cards:
Still in doubt? Contact the retailer directly to determine whether a coupon or gift card is legitimate.
Coupon fraud could land you in serious trouble, even as an unknowing participant. A warning on the CIC website reads: "When a person buys coupons, they may be inadvertently purchasing stolen property or counterfeit coupons. Even if there is not a direct criminal penalty involved, both coupon buyers and sellers open the door to potential litigation when they buy or sell coupons because they are in violation of the 'nontransferability' clause printed on all coupons distributed within the United States."
We hope these tips help you to stay safe while saving money.