The Coupon Code Scam: How it Works and How to Avoid It

written by Carlos Alvarez
11 · 15 · 21

There are plenty of scams that are hurting legitimate sellers. One of the most common to come up in the past few years, however, is the “coupon code scam.” It’s a sneaky tactic used to lower confidence in sellers and steal sales away from legitimate businesses. Today, we walk through what this scam is, how you can see if it’s affecting you and what to do about it to protect your business.

What is the Coupon Code Scam?

Here’s how it works: a person finds your store and starts the purchase process. There, they see coupon code field and think “Hey, I should find a code and save some extra money.” So, they open another tab on their browser and start looking for coupon codes. They find one and apply it…and it doesn’t work.

They try again and again with different codes, eventually getting frustrated and ending the sale. After all, you aren’t honoring their coupon codes! But here’s the truth: the codes were fake and put up on popular coupon code sites to undermine your business and push people elsewhere.

How to Tell if You’re Affected

There’s actually a very simple way to see if your store is being affected by the coupon code scam. Simply check the search keywords that customers use to come to your store. You’ll most likely see a number of searches coming from websites like “,” the most popular and aggressive fake coupon code supplier running right now. If you see that, you are likely getting hit by people using fake coupon codes, getting frustrated and taking their business elsewhere.

What to Do About the Coupon Code Scam

You may be thinking to yourself at this point, “The solution is simple, I’ll just remove coupon code fields from my site.” Truthfully, this is the simplest way to avoid this scam entirely.

Removing coupon codes entirely, however, means that you can’t do coupon promotions. In a world of increased competition and online promotion, coupon codes can be a great way to drive people to your store and increase your sales. By removing this feature entirely, you lose an advantage.

So, what’s the solution if you still want to use coupon codes on your site? One way is to rank your own site on and other major coupon code sites. Since you own your site, it will likely be easy to beat the fakes. Then, you can issue your own coupons and let people know that coupon codes are often fake. You can use similar messaging on your store to ensure people know that the scam exists. Finally, you should turn off coupon code fields whenever you don’t have coupon promotions running to minimize the problem.


There are plenty of scams out there that can affect your online business. From coupon codes to fake listings and more, you need to stay diligent if you want to turn a profit. Here at Wizards of Ecom, we believe that understanding the marketplace and implementing best practices is how we can all improve our sales and profits. It’s why we offer a wide range of information for our members. Be sure to check our site frequently for the latest tips and tricks for maximizing your profits while avoiding the scammers. Click here to learn more.

Carlos Alvarez

Alvarez sums up his mission to help online sellers with a quote he heard early on in his career. New sellers constantly compare their Chapter 1 to another seller’s Chapter 20. They see what other veteran sellers are doing and they judge their success and failures by this benchmark. His goal is to show sellers a realistic path to success, and how they can enjoy every chapter of their own, unique journey.

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