Unmasking Coupon Scams: Insights from Consumers and Marketing Experts

In the current competitive market environment, coupon promotions and special deals are a dime a dozen. With unbelievable savings that will make their offers irresistible to buyers who would otherwise not have bothered, they aim at making a sale. Nonetheless, everything that shines is not gold. Many are good while some of them are cleverly disguised scams aiming to cause financial loss and erode brand trust among others. This piece therefore delves into how customers or marketing experts can identify and avoid scam coupons by drawing insights from them.

Teddi Schill, founder of  Raleigh Area Property “One particular instance stands out. I received an email from a well-known electronics retailer offering an unbelievably high discount on a popular smartphone model. The discount was so substantial that it felt too good to be true.”

“The email had several red flags: it was poorly formatted, the branding looked slightly off, and there were grammatical errors. Despite the tempting offer, I decided to investigate further before making any purchase. I checked the retailer’s official website and social media pages but found no mention of this promotion. When I called their customer service, they confirmed that the promotion was not legitimate and warned me that it could be a phishing scam.” Teddi elaborates.

The Attractiveness of Incentive Promotions

In the arsenal of a marketer, coupon promotions are very effective. They get attention, boost sales and can significantly improve customer loyalty. For customers, these promotions offer a chance to save money and try new products. Nonetheless, the proliferation of coupon frauds has tarnished their appeal.

Red Flags for Shoppers

Customers are usually quick to sense when an offer is too good to be true. Here are some common red flags they look for:

Unrealistic Discounts: If a coupon offers a highly discounted price that is not consistent with expensive products, caution should be exercised. Scammers often use exaggerated savings to lure in victims.

Short Expiry Dates: Often it is urgent that scammers make consumers take prompt actions. A short time limit on coupons may indicate that it is a scam.

Suspicious URLs and Websites: The normal thing for real companies is to have professional websites with secure URLs (https://). When you find yourself being taken by a coupon code to a dubious site, avoid clicking.

Hidden Fees: There are some scams which involve hidden charges which only appear at the checkout. Always read the fine print and be cautious about extra expenses.

This experience left me feeling wary of the brand. Although I understood that the email was likely sent by scammers impersonating the retailer, the fact that such a thing could happen made me cautious. I did not engage with the brand for a while after this incident. Eventually, I returned to shopping with them, but I am now much more careful and always double-check the legitimacy of any deals or promotions before making a purchase.

Marketing Gurus Weigh In

Marketing experts are very familiar with the strategies used by fraudsters and give useful advice on how not to be deceived by deceitful promotions.

Confirm the Source: Always make sure that the coupon is from a reputable source. The official websites of brand, famous coupon platforms and trusted retailers are secure places for finding legitimate discounts. Prior to using a voucher from an unknown website, look through for online reviews and ratings. These enable perceptions into whether or not the promotion is fake.

Peter Evering, business manager at  Utopia Management “In consumer protection and financial transactions, spotting the difference between a genuine deal and a scam often boils down to a few critical factors. An honest deal is marked by clear, upfront communication of all terms—like pricing, fees, and return policies—without surprises hidden in the fine print. Legitimate businesses have a track record, and customer reviews, and can prove their credibility, while scammers often lack verifiable history and rely on fake testimonials.” 

Be Honest in your Dealings

Honest transactions respect your decision-making process without pressure tactics, unlike scams that use urgency to rush you into hasty decisions. Lastly, trustworthy businesses comply with regulations, ensuring they’re registered and follow legal guidelines, whereas scammers often operate on the fringes, avoiding scrutiny.

Andy Kolodgie of Property Leads elaborates on the honest deal and scam: “I have learned that the edge between an honest trade and a fraud is often determined by the level of transparency and the real promises. In my opinion, a fair deal is one where all the terms are understood by both sides, the results are real and the mutual benefits are real for the customer and the company.”  

However, a scam – unlike most genuine investment opportunities – is often based on deception, e.g. misrepresenting the product’s capabilities or the return on investment, like the popular Ponzi schemes.

“To avoid my loyalty and engagement programs which do not cause suspicion, I emphasize the building of trust through the methods of transparency and consistency. Data analytics is my tool to get to know the customers much better, their buying patterns and preferences to provide them with offers that are just right for them. Customer needs come first, and I, therefore, also emphasize efficient and empathic troubleshooting since this not only helps with the current situation but also builds customer trust. Also, I will not only use the rewards program but will also design activities that will have real value and make the customers feel they belong to the club.” Andy further adds.

Example: In a project which I was involved in that gave a discount to the regular customers of ours. Rather than only sending out a generic voucher, we personalized the communication message by expressing gratitude for the customer’s past purchases and how the deal was tailored to their preferred products. Not only did this make customers feel valued, but it also was a clear sign to them that we had considered the offer, and were not just trying to trick them into believing that it is too good to be true. The initiative reported a huge growth in the number of repeat purchases and positive customer feedback causing a demonstration of the success of a customer-centric and transparent approach to customer service and engagement.


It is important to be skeptical about coupon promotions and special deals even if they can save you a lot of money. Knowledge of the ways scammers cheat is an integral part of any discount scheme, as it will help avoid being lured into fraudulent activities. It is worth recalling that whenever such an offer is too good to be true, it probably is not true. Do not fall a victim of coupons scam, stay updated and ensure your safety at all times.

By Edward Robinson

Looking to share my thoughts and opinions on a range of topics. Robinson aims to make upbent.com an enjoyable corner of the internet that brings a bit of lighthearted entertainment to readers' days. As the site develops, he intends to bring on a few other bloggers to add additional voices and expand the range of subjects covered beyond just his personal interests. Robinson sees long-term potential in upbent.com becoming a popular online destination.

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