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Consumer Handbook: A New Round Of Fake Retail Coupons Hits Social Media

Better Business Bureau

With people spending an increased amount of time on social media during the pandemic, scammers are jumping on the opportunity to scam the public. Father’s Day, graduations, and weddings are upon us, so it is not surprising to see more coupons for extreme deals at major retailers. However, scammers are offering fake retail coupons to steal your identity and/or download malware. 

Better Business Bureau wants to make sure everyone knows the difference between a real deal and a counterfeit coupon with bad consequences. 

Here’s how counterfeit coupons work: Often found circulating on Facebook, these coupons could have several goals for the scammer. Sometimes they’re just a way for a site to generate extra hits online, but their goal is usually more malicious; they’re often attempting to steal personal information. Among the most frequently distributed fake coupons in recent weeks are Bath & Body Works, Costco, Aldi, Starbucks, and Trader Joe’s. The coupons frequently offer cards or coupons for $100 or more of free merchandise, especially if you share the link on social media. 

These coupons have been widely circulated on Facebook and many people have clicked or reshared these posts. The coupon link often takes them to a third-party website that, in order to get the coupon or voucher, asks for the person’s information which results in downloading viruses or malware. The individual never receives the coupon or voucher, and doesn’t know who received their information. 

BBB offers the following tips for identifying coupon scams: 

Be skeptical. The better the deal looks, the more likely it’s fake. 

Check directly with the source. Visit the company’s website to look for the coupon, or directly contact the company. 

Look at the expiration date. Most coupons have one. The lack of an expiration date is an indication that the coupon may be phony. Another tip: Coupons for free items usually expire quicker than others.


Cape Girardeau native Whitney Quick is the former Regional Director of Better Business Bureau in Cape Girardeau, MO. She joined the Cape Chamber as Vice President of Programs and Leadership Development in May 2023. Quick is a graduate of Cape Girardeau Central High School and Southeast Missouri University where she majored in public relations.