Digital coupons are a great way to spend your money, but they’re also one of the biggest offenders when it comes to fraud, according to a new study.
Publix, Target and Dollar Tree have all started offering discounts on digital coupons to shoppers this week.
The research was conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which says consumers have used coupons at least twice since 2010, with some paying as much as $50.
The researchers, who examined how many people have used digital coupons at both Publax and Target stores, said the biggest problems with digital coupons have to do with the fact that they can be a great source of revenue, but can also be fraudulent.
Publix is the first major grocery store chain to begin offering discounted digital coupons.
The retailer announced in March that it will begin allowing customers to use coupons to get their items free, free of charge, from Feb. 1 to March 1.
The goal is to provide an incentive to spend on items and save for later.
That could be a good thing, but it could also be a bad thing, said Pricewaterhill analyst Michael DeBoeuf.
That’s because consumers will end up spending more when they’re not really saving.
DeBoeuff said the big problem with digital coupon fraud is that consumers don’t know what they’re getting.
“If you get a coupon that says, ‘Free a gift,’ and you can’t read what that coupon is actually saying, then you’ll probably not be a believer,” he said.
“If it’s a coupon where it says, if you’re at Publakys, you can buy a gift, that’s a great coupon, but if it says ‘free a gift’ it’s not likely to be as effective,” DeBuells said.
“It’s just not going to work.”
He added that digital coupons can be particularly appealing to people who don’t normally shop online, because they’re easy to use.
They’re also cheaper than traditional coupons, and are easier to get.
But that’s not the only problem with online coupons.
DeBuel said they often lack the necessary information that stores and shoppers need to make the purchase.
“The biggest thing that I think is really disappointing about digital coupons is that there are no clear rules about what information to provide,” Debuell said.
The digital coupons in the Publays, Targets and Dollar Tons are mostly a form of payment, and some may not be accepted by the retailer.
DeBus, a leading online coupon site, says it has found that many online coupons are often created by fraudsters.
In some cases, DeBus reports that the creators of coupons don’t actually know how to create a coupon.
DeBus also says that online coupons that appear legitimate can be fraudulent, or can contain a coupon code that’s often used to trick people into paying with counterfeit goods.
The most common types of digital coupons include those that include information about coupons you can use to get a gift or a free item.
Some digital coupons that include a coupon to pay for a specific product can also include information such as a price tag, expiration date, and other terms and conditions that make it easy for fraudsters to create fraudulent coupons.
Other types of coupons that have been found to be fraudulent include ones that say, “Free a Gift,” or offer a discount if you buy something with a coupon, like a Starbucks gift card.
Those types of coupon are also common at many large grocery stores, where many shoppers pay with their credit cards, and many of those credit cards aren’t tied to a retailer.
While some of the coupons can also contain other terms that make the transaction more difficult, like an additional fee, it can be tempting for fraudster to fake a coupon and use that to make a purchase, said DeBus’ co-author, Josh Brown.
Brown said that fraudsters often create fake coupons because they want people to believe the coupon will make a big difference, or because they have no other way to get items for free.
It’s a tactic that many people will likely repeat, Brown said.
Some of the most common ways to make fraudulent digital coupons included offering discounts for products that aren’t available in-store, and the use of an automated coupon processor that makes it possible for frauds to create an electronic signature on the coupon, DeBuch said.
While many retailers have taken steps to protect customers from fraudulent digital coupon scams, Brown noted that they may not always be up to the task.
“I don’t think they have the resources that they should be to protect their customers from a digital coupon scam,” he added.
“They may be able to detect that, but then they have to decide how to respond to it.
And it’s very hard to stop.”