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Fake Listings And Scam Risks On Discount Apps

Discount and deal apps like Groupon, LivingSocial, Ibotta, and others have surged in popularity by promising great savings on products, services, and activities. But along with genuine deals, these apps have also enabled fake listings and scams to rip off users. 

Understanding the scam risks on discount apps is crucial to avoid getting duped by fraudulent deals.

What Are The Main Scam Risks On Discount Apps?

When exploring discount apps for deals on goods and services, it's crucial to stay vigilant, as some may introduce scam risks. Fake coupons or discounts, like the elusive coupon filmora 12,can tempt you into divulging personal information, potentially leading to identity theft. Be cautious not to be directed to suspicious websites requesting credit card details, which could result in fraudulent charges.

Some deals involve receiving mystery boxes or products that end up being cheap counterfeits rather than advertised valuables. Users should also watch for bait-and-switch tactics where additional fees are tacked on or fine print invalidates advertised savings. Sticking to trustworthy apps and being wary of deals that seem too good to be true can help avoid scams.

How To Identify Fake Listings And Merchants?

Many scammers create fake merchant profiles and deals. Here’s how to detect fake listings:

  • Research the company online for reviews and complaints. Fake merchants tend not to have an online presence.

  • Search for the deal on other sites. If it’s only on one discount app, it’s riskier.

  • Watch for too-good-to-be-true prices that are unrealistic.

  • Reverse image search product photos that may be stolen from other sites.

  • See if the merchant has complete business details listed. Vague addresses or contact info are red flags.

  • Verify endorsement badges if the platform uses verification. Merchants without badges are less trusted.

Be Wary Of Deals That Seem Too Good To Be True

One of the biggest indicators of a scam is a deal that seems unrealistically cheap or deeply discounted compared to normal prices. For example, 50-70% off electronics, gift cards for half off, or similar deals that are priced way below any competitors should raise concerns. Disreputable sellers create such false deals to attract victims.

Purchase Protection Programs – Do They Cover Fake Listings?

Some discount apps do provide purchase protection programs as a safety net for customers. But read the terms closely. Fake listing scams may not be covered under guarantee policies. Protection tends to focus more on refunding defective or misrepresented products. 

Fake vendor listings may be considered outright fraud. Still, protections provide some recourse if you request a refund or report fake merchants immediately after purchase. Don’t wait until you’ve “used” the non-existent voucher or item.

Should You Pay For Discounted Gift Cards On These Apps?

Discount gift card deals pose very high scam potential and financial risk. In most cases it is best to avoid these types of offers altogether on discount apps. Either the gift card details will be fake or already used, or the seller will disappear after purchase.

 Since you pay upfront before verifying whether the gift card actually works, it’s easy to get ripped off. Gift cards sold at extreme discounts are almost always fraudulent.

How To Avoid Getting Scammed When Using Discount Apps?

Vet merchants thoroughly - research online, confirm details, and search for reviews mentioning scams.

Stick to deals that seem reasonably and appropriately priced. Pass on anything excessively cheap.

Pay by credit card for purchase protection. Avoid paying direct bank transfers or cash reloads.

Act quickly to redeem deals and services before vouchers expire.

Report any suspected fake listings to the app provider immediately.

Only use reputable apps that offer buyer guarantees and protections.

Recourse Options If You Get Scammed By A Fake Deal

If you do unfortunately get duped by a fraudulent listing or seller, act quickly for best results:

  • Report to the app provider. Inform them it is a fake listing and provide details. Request a refund via their policies.

  • Dispute the charges. If paid by credit card, execute a chargeback. If bank transfer, report to your bank as unauthorized.

  • Leave reviews. Post on app and merchant profiles detailing the scam experience to warn others.

  • File complaints. Submit reports to the FTC, state consumer protection bureaus, and the Better Business Bureau.

  • Consult an attorney. For large financial damages, consider consulting an attorney about legal options.

How Discount Apps Can Better Detect And Prevent Fake Listings

Discount apps do bear some responsibility to keep their platforms free of fraudulent sellers and deals. Here are measures the apps can implement:

  • Rigorous merchant screening and background checks before approving profiles. Look for valid business licenses and contact info.

  • Enhanced identity verification for high-risk merchants like gift card sellers.

  • Proactive monitoring for duplicate images, prices deviating far from normal, suspicious rating activity, and common fraud red flags.

  • Quick suspensions of sketchy merchant accounts pending fraud reviews.

  • Zero tolerance policies for scamming and quicker removals of fraudulent deals and sellers.

  • Expanded buyer protections, refund guarantees, and fraud reimbursement programs.

  • Better reporting procedures and fraud detection technology using AI.

Discount apps offer neat opportunities for savings, but also carry risks of scams. Be vigilant in assessing deals, merchants, and prices that seem fake or unrealistic. Only purchase from trusted platforms with buyer protections. Thoroughly research the businesses listed. Take action quickly after any scam and report fake listings to protect others. Staying informed and cautious is the best defense against the scam risks on these deal apps.


Discount and deal apps offer enticing savings opportunities but also come with significant scam risks. Users must be vigilant in identifying fake listings and merchants by researching, checking for red flags, and verifying business details. Deals that seem too good to be true should raise suspicions, and caution is advised when considering discounted gift cards. 

If scammed, users should report to the app provider, dispute charges, and leave reviews to warn others. Discount apps can improve fraud prevention by implementing rigorous screening, identity verification, and enhanced monitoring while offering better buyer protections. Staying informed and cautious is key to safeguarding against scam risks on these platforms.

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