That 50% Off Everything Coupon is Fake
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That 50% Off Everything Coupon is Fake

Posted on Tuesday, December 1st, 2015 at 7:00 am
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Online CouponBlack Friday and Cyber Monday have passed by, but we are still within the time of year when a whole lot of extra shopping happens. It can be difficult to fit it all into your budget. Unfortunately, scammers are trying to take advantage of your desire to be frugal by creating fake coupons.

Recently, there have been several varieties of fraudulent coupons being passed around on Facebook. Each one of these fake coupons says that you can use it to get 50% off your entire purchase. You may have seen one for Target or one for Walmart, and there could be others out there, too.

If something looks too good to be true – it probably is. This old saying applies to coupons that appear to give you such a huge savings that you become very tempted to use them. Keep in mind that if you use one of these fake coupons, you could get in trouble for coupon fraud. The stores are not going to accept these fake coupons, and that could lead to a very embarrassing shopping experience (as everyone behind you in line judges you).

One way to tell if a coupon is fake is to visit the Coupon Information Center and view their list of coupon alerts. If you find a coupon mentioned in that list – you can be absolutely certain it is a fake coupon. The reverse isn’t necessarily true. If the questionable coupon you found isn’t on the list, it means that the Coupon Information Center hasn’t become aware of it yet. Not being on the list does not mean a particular coupon is the real thing.

Target offers coupons on its website. Those coupons are specific to Target and cannot be used anywhere else. Walmart also has its own coupons on its website. Before you click on, print out, or share a coupon that you see on Facebook, take a second or two to see if that coupon appears on the store’s real website. If you can’t find that coupon on the legitimate website, there is a good chance coupon you see on Facebook leads to a scam website.

Does the coupon look funny? That is a very bad sign. Big stores (like Target and Walmart) can afford to create good looking coupons. If the coupon you see being passed around looks like someone ran it through a copy machine – that means it is a fake coupon.

Another sign is if the coupon lacks a bar code, or if there is no expiration date listed. Blurry lettering, or typing that doesn’t sit right is a bad sign. If the font style, or the color of the text, seems different from the usual coupons from that store – don’t use the coupon.

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.