My half brother has been out of touch with me for several years. Broken families go through confusing relationships, and ours has been no different. But lately he's been reaching out by email. He doesn't “get” the whole couponing thing, although he buys in bulk and believes in stockpiling groceries to save money, just not exactly how the serious savings come about. He's making an effort, though, and has been sending me links to sites and articles he finds on non-couponing ways to save money on groceries.

Some have been interesting, and a few have been um, well, creative approaches. I don't usually see any major savings to be had, but I think it's neat he's trying. He has a huge family, three mortgages on one house, and really needs to get his expenses in check.

He's also been the victim of identity fraud a few times.

So…I was looking through some links my brother sent, and opened this one advertising a free $250 grocery card. Just fill out a few sponsorship offers, and there you go. Free money, right?

Only, in my experience, these are the horrible offers that take forever to get through, and technically you can't complete the terms of all the required sponsor offers, usually because you can't take out that many new credit cards at one time.

This one might be legit. I don't know, I didn't try. I've been burned too many times on similar “free money” offers. But, I've been wondering how to approach my brother about it. My brother has complained that his live-at-home son is constantly taking out credit cards under my brothers name and SSN, and maxing them out. That's a whole different story. I am wondering, though, if my nephew is chasing down all these “free” offers in my brothers name, getting scammed, and causing many of the problems for my brothers credit. And if so, how to broach the subject with him. My half brother is really sensitive, and I'd hate to muddle up our relationship more than it already is.

Then again, maybe it's NOT a scam, and I'm just being really hard on him. Sigh. Free groceries sound nice. Especially for only 20 minutes of filling out sponsors offers. Sure, I regularly get free groceries, but it's by cutting out coupons, reading ads, finding deals, and stockpiling. Alot more work. (On the other hand, my way is 'sustainable' and I can do it every week if I work at it. But I wouldn't want to rub that one in!)

I love my brother, but he's a dreamer. I love that about him. But sometimes, even dreamers need to see the cold hard truth: if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Ah, what to do, what to do…has anyone else dealt with this? What would you do?

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  1. To stop credit cards from being taken out in your name, can’t you put a credit freeze on your account? And/or a fraud alert? Isn’t this supposed to help?

    No, wrt your real question….”if it sounds too good to be true….” Sometimes it’s just hard to convince someone else of that. Good luck.

  2. Think about it….why would anyone give out $250 worth of free groceries to the world at large?

    If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. I’m amazed at how many people so want to get something for nothing that they’re willing to ignore all reason and logic.

  3. Well, I’ve had no luck with the gentle approach here. DB is complaining about the credit cards but doesn’t understand this may be one of the sources. And he won’t take the Dr. Phil approach of tough love with his DS. Sigh…still looking for ideas on this one.

  4. It sounds like your brother needs help with getting his finances in order, and the credit card problems will naturally come with it. Go to and read his book Total Money Makeover. His easy to follow steps to become debt free have 100% changed my family’s life…we’ve paid off a ton of debt just by looking at what order we pay our bills in and getting intensely focused on what we are paying off…it is worth a try, even if you only read the first few chapters. I know it probably sounds a little hoaxy, but it is down to earth stuff that everyone can do-and it doesn’t cost anything to borrow the book from the library. Dave does offer a “Finanial Peace University” class which I think is usually around $100, but not necessary to go through if you can read and understand the book….give it a try!!! good luck!! (Also–he has talk radio shows on a.m. radio and on Fox business network)

  5. joined national home gardening club and enclosed was a coupon for $100. grocery card. Sent in all required items plus $1.00 processing fee. This was in Aug. nothing yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If everyone sent in just $1.00 Wow look how much money they reeived for nothing.

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