Fake grocery coupons are infuriating. After all, you’ve spent all of that time and energy to budget for groceries with the right coupons in hand. Then you get to the store and discover that the coupon you’re trying to use isn’t real.
First of all, that’s embarrassing. Furthermore, it means that you have to pay more than you planned for your groceries. This can break your budget.
Grocery coupon scams can make you want to give up couponing forever. However, they are the exception to the rule. The more you learn about them, the more empowered you will be to avoid falling into their traps.
Fake Grocery Coupons Scams on Social Media
The most common grocery coupon scams are those that show up on social media. Therefore, if you see a grocery coupon on Facebook, then do your diligence.
The good news is that social media is also a great place to learn about scams. Therefore, if you spot a coupon, then you can quickly check out whether or not it is valid.
For example, in the summer of 2018, an ad began circulating online for a $250 Kroger grocery coupon. However, it was a scam. It had the potential to steal your money and add a virus to your computer. That said, Kroger caught on quickly, and they made an announcement on their own Facebook page that this was a scam. Therefore, if you paused when you saw the deal and took the time to check with the legitimate Kroger account first, then you would have avoided becoming a victim of this scam.
Hy-vee, Aldi, and Publix are other stores that became aware of grocery coupon scams and posted information on their own social media accounts to warn their customers. If you see an ad, sponsored social media post, or a coupon link online then you should be wary. There are many great online resources for grocery coupons. However, you should always think twice. If you had stopped to think about the above scam, it would likely have occurred to you that a $250 coupon sounds too good to be true. Then you could investigate.
How to Spot Grocery Coupon Scams
First of all, be aware of your sources, with an eye towards social media as aforementioned. Furthermore, keep an eye out for these warning signs that a coupon might be fake:
- The amount off is more than the cost of the item itself.
- The coupon doesn’t require a purchase for redemption.
- A print coupon doesn’t have a bar code and/or doesn’t have any fine print with conditions and details.
- Something feels off. It feels too good to be true. Trust your gut.
As a responsible consumer, you might want to follow updates from the Coupon Information Center. It was established in the 1980s to fight coupon fraud. Therefore, it serves as a terrific resource. They offer tips and information about how to avoid coupon scams. They also keep members updated about the latest scams including how to prevent elder scams by making safe online grocery purchases. In fact, if you spot potential grocery coupon scams on Facebook, you can easily report it to them.
You can also check Snopes.com. They have a page dedicated to coupon scams. You can easily stay abreast of the latest big scams by following their updates.