A VERIFY viewer asked if Kroger is really giving away a free $150 coupon for the company’s anniversary — it’s not. Similar coupon scams have circulated since 2013.
Kroger is one of the largest supermarket chains in the United States.
Since the company was founded in 1883, the brand has grown from a single grocery store in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio, to nearly 2,800 stores in 35 states.
On Facebook, a third-party website is claiming Kroger is currently giving a free $150 coupon to everyone in celebration of the company’s anniversary. VERIFY viewer Sandra asked if this promotion is real or a scam.
Is Kroger giving everyone a free $150 anniversary coupon?
No, Kroger is not giving everyone a free $150 anniversary coupon.
WHAT WE FOUND
Kroger is not giving away a free $150 coupon to everyone in celebration of the company’s anniversary. Erin Rolfes, Kroger’s director of media relations and corporate communications, told VERIFY in an email that this is not a valid promotion.
Kroger shares hundreds of digital coupons with its customers on its website each week. VERIFY could not find any information about a $150 anniversary coupon promotion on the supermarket chain’s site.
VERIFY found that the fake coupon is currently in circulation on Facebook. When people click on the link, it sends them to a third-party website that is not affiliated with Kroger. Instead, the coupon is linked to exclusivedeals.africa.com, which Google flags as “dangerous” and “deceptive.” After bypassing Google’s warning, we found that the site actually leads to an ad for an apartment complex in Pakistan — not a free $150 Kroger coupon.
More from VERIFY: VERIFY Fact Sheet: 5 tips to avoid online shopping scams
It’s not the first time a fake Kroger coupon has circulated on social media. Kroger and multiple news outlets, including VERIFY partner station KHOU, USA Today and Snopes, have been debunking the spread of fake Kroger coupons and gift cards since at least 2013.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) says counterfeit coupons are a popular way for scammers to steal a person’s identity and money.
Some scammers lure people in by using official brand logos to create fake coupons that offer unusually steep discounts, like 80% or more, on certain products sold by major retailers. Other scammers offer coupon deals in exchange for sharing a link on social media. The BBB says these links often lead people to third-party websites where visitors enter personal information in exchange for the coupon.
More from VERIFY: Facebook post promising free roundtrip plane tickets for Southwest Airlines’ anniversary is a scam
“In most cases, after signing up, you never receive any coupons. Instead, you’ve given your personal details to scammers,” the BBB says.
On its website, the BBB shares six tips on how to avoid a fake coupon scam:
- Don’t fall for deals that are too good to be true. If a coupon is valued near or above the retail price of an item, consider it a red flag.
- Check the source of the coupon. If the coupon doesn’t come from a recognized coupon distributor, the manufacturer or a specific store, be wary. If you’re unsure about a coupon, visit the company’s official website directly to look for the coupon or contact their customer service line to ask if the coupon’s legit.
- Think before you click on links. If you receive a coupon via email or on social media, hover your mouse over the link without clicking on it to see where it will take you. If the URL looks like a random assortment of letters and numbers, or if it is a shortened link that doesn’t reveal where it’s taking you, don’t click it. Only visit official websites to avoid downloading malware onto your computer.
- Read coupons carefully. If a coupon doesn’t have an expiration date, if it looks photocopied or if it contains spelling and grammar errors, you’re probably dealing with a fake.
- Don’t trade personal information for perks. A real business will not ask for your personal information, such as your credit card number or bank account information, in exchange for a coupon or to enter a giveaway. Promotional offers that ask for personal information are usually scams. You shouldn’t have to pay to receive a coupon either.
- Do a search for coupon scams. When in doubt, search for the coupon offer along with the word “scam.” This will often bring up similar offers that are fake and can help you determine whether a coupon is real or not.
More from VERIFY: Facebook does not have a lottery promotion. This is a common scam.