BBB warning about fake coupon scam - WFLA News Channel 8

BBB warning about fake coupon scam

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

Coupons sure come in handy at the checkout line.  But just like counterfeit money, counterfeit coupons are big business.  Which is why the Better Business Bureau is warning about fake coupons and coupon scams.

John Zajac of the Better Business Bureau says "we're in an age where everyone wants to save money, which is great.  However, there are millions of counterfeit coupons that are in the marketplace.

Zajac points to EBay as an example.  He says type "coupon" in the search box and tens of thousands of coupons for sale appear.  "If you've purchased these coupons, which some people do, you're buying a counterfeit product.  Then, if you pass those coupons onto the retailer or manufacturer you are in essence contributing to that fraud."

And you can be held accountable.  Zajac says law enforcement agencies are cracking down on counterfeit coupon scams.  Those caught can face charges including wire fraud and trafficking in counterfeit goods.

Turns out many of the scam artists are buying the fake coupons in bulk overseas and then selling them at about half the face value.  And if you buy them you're part of the problem.  "If they are counterfeit coupons, that's no different then having counterfeit money," says Zajac.

The consumers who pass off the counterfeit coupons are cheating the stores who unknowingly accept them and or the manufacturers who are losing money and incentive to keep offering legitimate coupons.

Zajac says: "There are a lot of people who look on line for coupons. Some sites may offer 10% off, 15% off a particular high ticket item but then this other site says 75% off.  Well, there's an adage that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

And if a site wants to you sign up and divulge personal information in order to score free coupons Zajac says beware you could be opening the door to identity theft.

You can find BBB tips on how to tell fake coupons from real ones on the BBB Website.

One good rule of thumb, according to Zajac, never pay for coupons. He says why would you pay for something you can get for free?

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