Beware of All Those Mother's Day Coupons Popping up in Your Social Media Feeds
Personal information you may unsuspectingly provide can be used by a scammer to commit identity theft and/or target you for email phishing scams
With Mother's Day right around the corner, consumers should be on alert for a surge in Mother's Day coupon offers showing up across numerous social media channels, including Facebook and Twitter. Many of these 'coupons' are actually scams.
Don't Be Fooled
Scammers will try to piggyback onto anything that might turn your money into their money. Unfortunately, Mother's Day is no exception. In this case, people are asked to fill out a survey to get coupons for large discounts from major retail chains like Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, and Lowe's Home Improvement.
These supposed coupons may never even arrive and are fake and worthless if they do, but the personal information you provide when filling out the online survey is valuable to the crooks. They can use it to commit identity theft and/or target you for email phishing scams in the future.
Tips for Protecting Your Information
To protect yourself from these and other scams, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein offers the following tips:
- Be on the lookout for emails that ask you to confirm your personal information or account number, or to transfer money.
- Don't click on anything in an email unless you were expecting to receive the message and you are absolutely certain that it is safe, even if it appears to come from a trusted source like your bank or a friend. Verify with the friend or bank that they sent you an email first.
- Don't call a number listed in the email.
- When you see a large discount coupon, be skeptical and verify its legitimacy with the company before you do anything.
- MOST IMPORTANTLY, remember that if something seems too good to be true (like for instance, receiving a large discount just for filling out a survey), it probably is.
REPORT ALL SUSPECTED SCAMS
If you are or suspect that you are the victim of a scam or some other illegal practice, you should file a complaint. Doing so can help protect your rights and protect others from becoming victims. If you suspect you are dealing with a scamming, you should first stop all contact to minimize that chances of further losses. Don't respond to scammers via phone, text message, email or postal mail.
In North Carolina, you can report scams and other illegal practices to the North Carolina Attorney General's Office. If you live outside North Carolina, report it to your state Attorney General. You can also submit a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), which is co-sponsored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C).