KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Couponing has become a part of everyday life for millions of people, but some of those coupons may end up costing you.
Scam Number 7: Coupon Scams
Couponing has gone beyond clipping sections out of the Sunday paper. Most can be kept on a smartphone or loaded to your shopper's card.
The creation of QR codes has also become a great way for companies to offer up discounts and a great tool for scammers.
It's called "click jacking." You use your smartphone to scan a QR code, claiming to be a discount, then it redirects you to sketchy, unsafe sites that grab your personal information.
"If they target you and they get you. Then they've downloaded everything than you've shopped for and they can get all your personal information," said Jerry Tipton of the Better Business Bureau of Greater East Tennessee. "Anything at all that you've put in your computer or your smart phone."
Some of those QR codes are legitimate. Experts say there are easy ways to spot the scams.
"A lot of times you'll see 'free free free'," said Tipton. "That's a dead giveaway. Not many things in life are free."
The best advice is to get those coupons from reputable, well known websites. Also, look for secure websites that have an "s" after the "http" in the browser.
Beware of printed coupons that look fuzzy. Real coupons will always have a clear barcode.
If something still doesn't seem right, there is likely a reputable website out there with a similar deal you can feel good about.
Our "12 Scams of Christmas" continues Tuesday, Nov. 18 with a warning for shoppers looking to score the hottest gift of the season. There are a few this year and scammers are waiting to capitalize.