Claim: Aldi is giving away 40% off grocery coupons to Facebook users.
Example: [Collected via e-mail and Facebook, December 2015 and May 2016]
Aldi has a coupon for $60 off a minimum $70 purchase. Aldi has verified this is a scam, but people are sharing it all over facebook.
Origin:In December 2015, Facebook users began seeing posts advertising a "Get 40% off all purchases in store" coupon offer for the ALDI grocery store chain. These posts were the latest iteration of the common "free coupon" or "free gift card" scams that frequently plague social media and have also preyed on shoppers of chains such as Kroger and Target.
These coupons are not legitimate, as Aldi themselves noted on their Facebook page:
We understand the confusion that some customers experienced with the recent online coupon for 40% off. Please know that ALDI does not issue electronic coupons. This offer was not authorized or distributed by ALDI and will not be honored at ALDI locations. We sincerely regret any inconvenience this situation may cause.
This coupon offer is a form of survey scam that directs victims to what looks like a Facebook page for ALDI (but actually has no affiliation with that company, despite being adorned with the ALDI logo) and instructs them to share the bogus ALDI coupon offer on their Facebook timelines and submit comments about it:
This page instructs shoppers to follow these "two simple steps" in order to get their 40% off coupons. Once the steps are completed, however, users are not greeted with information explaining how to claim their coupons. Instead, they're asked to take a brief survey that entails providing personal information such as home address, telephone number, e-mail address, and date of birth, and are required to sign up for credit cards or enroll in number of subscription programs in order to obtain their "free" gift cards:
All in all, trying to claim that "free" 40% off ALDI coupon is likely going to end up costing you a lot more than you'll save. A version of the scam surfaced again in May 2016; ALDI responded to frustrated consumers on their Facebook wall:
We understand the confusion that some customers have experienced with the recent digital coupon scams affecting ALDI and other retailers. We don’t offer electronic coupons or electronic gift cards, and they won’t be accepted at our stores. We’re sorry for the confusion.
If you frequently use Facebook, there is a good chance that you'll run into one of these survey scams again. A July 2014 article from the Better Business Bureau lists key factors for identifying fraudulent Facebook posts:
Don't believe what you see. It's easy to steal the colors, logos and header of an established organization. Scammers can also make links look like they lead to legitimate websites and emails appear to come from a different sender.
When in doubt, do a quick web search. If the survey is a scam, you may find alerts or complaints from other consumers. The organization's real website may have further information.
Watch out for a reward that's too good to be true. If the survey is real, you may be entered in a drawing to win a gift card or receive a small discount off your next purchase. Few businesses can afford to give away $50 gift cards for completing a few questions.
Last updated: 17 May 2016
Originally published: 20 December 2015
Patterson, Emily. "Customer Survey Scam Lures Victims with Gift Card." Better Business Bureau. 4 July 2014.