Everyone loves coupons and like many things in our lives, coupons which used to be found commonly in newspapers and magazines have migrated online.  The Better Business Bureau has issued a warning about phony coupons appearing on social media.  Among the companies affected by these phony coupons are Bath and Body Works, Costco, Aldi, Starbucks and Trader Joe’s. The particular coupon scam about which I am warning you today is a phony Costco $75 coupon that is turning up on Facebook and other social media.  As I have warned you many times in the past, Facebook has become a hotbed for phony online coupons. The coupon looks quite legitimate which means nothing because it is very easy to copy the Costco logo and make the coupon appear to be genuine. The way that many phony coupon scams work is that in order to qualify for the coupon, you must complete a survey in which you are required to provide much personal information that is used to make you a victim of identity theft. In other versions of the scam, the scammer actually asks for your credit card numbers. In yet another version of the scam you are required to buy many costly items in order to claim your “free”coupon. Many of the coupon scams also require you to forward the coupon to friends which make the phony coupons look more legitimate when they are received by your friends. Ultimately, in all of these scams, the coupons are worthless and you get nothing, but the opportunity to become a victim of identity theft.  Here is  a copy of the coupon appearing online.  It was provided by the Identity Theft Resource Center.

A screenshot of a Facebook post showing the fake Costco coupon used by scammers. (Identity Theft Resource Center)


If the coupon appears too good to be true, it usually is a scam. No company could cover the cost of giving away vast numbers of $75 coupons although sometimes, participants in legitimate surveys are promised a chance to win a coupon in a drawing.  Facebook is a favorite venue for scammers perpetrating this type of scam because often unwary victims will unwittingly share the scam with their friends.  One way to determine if a coupon is legitimate is to look for the expiration date found on most coupons.  The phony Costco coupon like most phony coupons does not carry an expiration date. The best place to go to find out if a coupon is legitimate is to go to the company’s website to see what real coupons are being offered.  Here is the link to the section of Costco’s website where all its legitimate coupons appear. https://www.costco.com/online-offers.html?COSTID=MVM_header

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