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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – There’s a new warning about a “coupon con,” which is designed to swindle people right at the start of the school year.
Scammers are using social media to circulate phony coupons to popular retailers. But, this scam is designed to get your personal information. That means, if you fall for it, you won’t just be out the money you thought you had, but your identity could be stolen.
“What they’re doing is they’re offering these fake coupons to popular retailers,” Caitlin Driscoll, of the Better Business Bureau, said. “For offers to like $75 to $200 off your purchase.”
Students and parents are prime targets for this coupon con.
“They’re stealing the companies’ logos, they have actual coupon bar codes, they look pretty legitimate,” Driscoll said.
At a glance, it appears legitimate. However, it directs you to follow the fake account called “Target school cards.” From there, you’re directed to click on a link in the profile.
“Typically, they ask you to click on a link that’s being provided in that post. Sometimes, you’re asked to complete surveys before you can get access to that coupon,” Driscoll said.
Grammar and spelling can be tip-offs, too.
One fake ad says, “Do this steps” and “Regran” the post.
“We’ve also seen ones where a fake website comes up that mimics that social media website login, so it appears that you’ve gotten bounced off of that website. What they are really doing is capturing your login credentials,” Driscoll said.
The scammers may repost it, or use your password to log into your other accounts.
“In some instances, they want you to download a specific app, which can download viruses, malware and put your identity at risk,” Driscoll said.
The bottom line is they’re after your personal information to try to steal your identity. The Better Business Bureau recommends keeping these things in mind.
If there is an offer, it would come from the store’s verified account.
“It’s not going to come from a friend’s post or a friend of a friend, or a contact’s post. Check directly with that source,” Driscoll said.
Legitimate companies also won’t ask for personal or financial information in a survey.
“Even if you’re asked to enter in your address, or email address, make sure you’re on a verified website,” Driscoll said.
And remind yourself why the old saying holds true.
“Few businesses can afford to give away $100 coupons or vouchers to anybody just for reposting something or clicking on a link,” Driscoll said.
If you come across one of these, the BBB wants to hear from you.