PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As you look for gifts for the graduates in your life, you may turn to the internet to find a good deal on a product or service, but the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning to be careful before you click on a coupon.
“With an increase of people spending time on social media during this pandemic, scammers are obviously jumping at the chance to take advantage of people,” said Paula Fleming, the BBB’s local chief marketing and sales officer.
More than 20 million Americans lost their jobs in April alone and we’re all trying to make the most of every dollar, but don’t believe every deal you find online. Through its Scam Tracker, the BBB has found counterfeit retail coupons circulating on social media.
“We’re warning people if they’re on social media to look out specifically for Father’s Day, graduation, weddings, coupons for extreme deals from major well-known retailers, because often times we’re seeing they are indeed scams for fake retail coupons,” Fleming added.
She said the coupon link often takes you to a third-party website.
“In order to receive the coupon or the voucher, it asks for personal information, which then results in a download of viruses or malware to your device,” Fleming said. “Then the individual never receives a coupon or voucher to whatever store it was promised.”
“Legitimate businesses do not ask for private information such as a credit number or bank account for coupons or giveaways,” she continued.
Rather than going through social media, Fleming advised going straight to the business’s website.
“If there are coupons or codes, you’ll most likely find them there and they’re legitimate,” she said.
Fleming also said if it seems like it’s too good to be true — it probably is.
“The better the deal is, the more likely it’s fake,” she said.
Check out the BBB’s Scam Tracker to report a scam or see what types of scams are being reported in your area.