CIC Issues Alert about Fake Coupons on Facebook
By Linda Winick
The Coupon Information Center, an association of product manufacturers, has issued an alert about con artists spreading fake coupons on Facebook to steal personal and financial information from consumers. According to media reports, the latest version of this scam features a counterfeit $75 coupon from Bed Bath & Beyond.
“The impact of this scam can reach far beyond the embarrassment of having a coupon refused at the store,” say CIC officials. “Victims’ information will likely be used for other criminal activities costing the victims time and money.”
CIC reports that similar scams for $75 Kohl’s and $100 Ross fake coupons have also been identified. The scam has even spread to the United Kingdom where reports of fake £75 coupons surfacing have surfaced.
CIC offers consumers the following advice to protect themselves:
- If it seems too good to be true, it almost certainly is. There is no legitimate way to buy free-product coupons on the Internet. They are almost always counterfeit or stolen.
- Never provide personal or financial information, especially account numbers, passwords or security questions.
- Verify the legitimacy of suspicious offers directly with the retailer or the manufacturer. Do not depend on the information, such as a phone number, internet address or link, found on the suspicious offer itself.
- Beware of fake Internet addresses. Some con artists imitate legitimate ones by making small variations of them.
- Be aware that coupons shared via social media are most likely counterfeits.
CIC is a not-for-profit association of consumer product manufacturers dedicated to fighting coupon misredemption and fraud. It was founded in 1985 to encourage integrity in connection with the redemption of manufacturers' coupons and participation in other promotional programs.
The association provides education and advisories to consumers, best practices to retailers, advocacy for members (primarily manufacturers), and resources and support to law enforcement. It leads efforts to reform and improve security practices, enhance transparency, and open communications among all industry participants. CIC’s Annual Summit brings together industry executives representing diverse specialties to discuss issues and trends affecting coupon security.
“We encourage and support federal, state, and local law enforcement efforts to identify, investigate, and prosecute coupon misredemption,” say CIC officials. Since its inception, the association has:
- Exposed fraud schemes involving more than $750 million
- Identified thousands of individuals and entities misusing coupons
- Addressed new and emerging coupon challenges prior to becoming endemic
- Recovered and returned millions of dollars to victims
- Supported the prosecution of every significant coupon fraud case since 1986 – and never lost a case.