Fake coupons are like fat-free chips. You experience a moment of joy until someone else tells you what you have in your hands is no good.
A fake coupon, supposedly redeemable for a Wendy's double cheeseburger and medium drink, is making the rounds on the Internet. It is designed to appear as though it is being issued as a thank you to shareholders.
Wendy's has even issued a Fraud Alert to warn consumers that neither Allstate nor Wendy's has issued this coupon and it will not be honored. Wendy's does have a $1 off coupon for the new Twisted Frosty's. In exhange for the real coupon, you'll need to give the company your e-mail address.
This sort of fraud is on the rise because the coupon marketplace is experiencing a boom. Coupon usage has increased 39 percent in the past three years, with one in four people searching for savings online. Customers are looking to auction sites, deal-tracking blogs and coupon aggregators for savings.
coupons have moved onto the web and into e-mail newsletters, the
potential for fraud has increased. And in many cases there are outcomes
worse than being rejected at a Wendy's drive-thru. Fake coupon sites
are tricking bargain hunters into downloading spyware onto their computers. Identity theft is also as a concern, as consumers are confused by pop-up ads that ask for personal information.
Here's a guide to spotting counterfeit coupons on the Internet. Feel free to start clipping ... er ... clicking.