12 Scams of Christmas: Phony coupons

“These phony coupons can look really good,” said Steve Weisman, who is the author of Identity Theft Alert and Bentley University professor. (WJAR)

When you're buying gifts for your brother, and your mother, and your brother's sister-in-law's mother, it can get expensive.

But you don't want to let your quest for savings cloud your judgement.

Scammers know you’re looking for deals.

Phony coupons are NBC 10’s third scam of Christmas.

“These phony coupons can look really good,” said Steve Weisman, who is the author of Identity Theft Alert and Bentley University professor.

Weisman said fake coupon scams often start on sites like Facebook. Somebody shares a link to unbelievable savings, like “50% off your entire Amazon order.”

You click the link, and not only is there no deal, but now your computer is infected with malware.

Or the scammers take a different approach: you click the link, and get baited into sharing sensitive information.

“You're going to click on it, and in order to get the coupon, you need to register, and suddenly they need your credit card, or your social security number, or personal information,” warned Weisman.

If you're questioning whether a deal is legit, before you click, Weisman said go straight to the source.

“Any legitimate coupon for a company will be on their website,” he said.

Weisman said it’s also important to keep your antivirus software up-to-date.

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