Rebate Scams: How Some Marketers Make You Believe You Are In For A Treat
In the rebates sector, the success of every campaign is measured by the number of rebates unclaimed. Some people think rebates are just a “legalized scam.” Don't get us wrong, there are legitimate promotions out there, whether they are from Lowes, Menards, or Home Depot, but we are addressing the cases where the marketing tactics are so tricky that they could definitely be flagged. Tempting offers are referring in general to the highest new car rebates, tax refunds, or bank fees – to name a few.
There are tons of deceptive practices that make a promotional campaign “successful.” The creators get their profits by hiding the small print or the mail-in deadline, or even giving out the wrong application form. Please see many more reasons below.
According to reports, over $550 millions in rebates go unclaimed every year, as the percentage of people claiming the redemption is only between 70%-75%. We will get to the main reasons for that below, but first, let's look at all the deceptive practices that are going around this business – the real scam.
How Does the Rebate Scam Work?
A rebate scam usually occurs when someone is trying to convince you — claiming to be an employee — that you are eligible for a rebate or reimbursement from a store, car dealership, financial institution, the government, or a trusted organization.
The scam is usually straightforward. You'll be contacted with a false claim that you've become eligible to earn yourself some extra money in the form of a tax refund, accumulation of bank fees, overpaid taxes, or a different type of compensation. The scammer will look to contact you via text message, mail, telephone, email, or social media.
Then, they will ask you to make some payments to settle “administrative fees or taxes” on the amount to be received. Think about it, why do you need to pay to earn your refund? These people may even end up asking you for your credit information or bank details to confirm your eligibility.
If you end up paying the “administrative fees”, you will only have gifted your money to scammers, and the rebate will never come. If you make the mistake of providing your credit information, your account may be wiped clean, and you'll end up losing more than you bargained for.
Rebate Scam: How to Avoid
Make sure to confirm wherever the call is coming from by doing some personal research. You can even get in contact with the company in question and find out from them what are their best rebates, whether they are home improvement niche related or the highest new car rebates. Search for their contact through an independent source, maybe their official website or a phone book. Avoid using the contact details provided by the strange caller, you'll most likely be talking to one of them.
Search through the internet for any related scams. Search the exact wordings or names used in the message sent to you. Someone could have posted about it online, and it will help to save you a lot of trouble. A lot of people have identified many scams this way.
Keep in mind that government departments or financial institutions will not ask you to make any upfront payment to get your rebate. Any such claims are indeed scams.
Scammers will always look to receive payment through unusual means such as pre-loaded debit cards, gift cards, Bitcoin, and so on. Be on the lookout for any of these indicators.vIf you think it's a scam, it's best to avoid making contact or speaking to them as they will only look to manipulate you solely for their goals. The best way to avoid the scam is to ignore those who contact you.
Do not give out your money to anyone just because they seem formal about it. You may never be able to recover such losses. Also, make sure that you do not give your credit card details or bank information. It's best to avoid providing any personal documents to the person in question, mainly via email.
Do not make any agreements with an unknown person that involves you giving out vital credentials or sending money. It's usually challenging to get in contact with such people, and your actions may end up costing you dearly, leading to unexpected debts. Keep your identity safe and protect it at all costs. Avoid filling any online forms given to you by the scammer. They may just be a ploy to extract info from you.
If you've been scammed or you feel that you've given out vital details such as your bank information, don't keep quiet about it – report them at the bottom of this article.
It's crucial to get in contact with your banking institution immediately and provide them with all the details. It's the best way to mitigate your loss and stop these scammers in their tracks.
Top 8 Reasons Why Rebates Make Money at Your Cost
There are many ways the rebates sector works so well, while the consumers are left disappointed many times:
- This one is our 'favorite': The Bar Code. The marketers may ask you to scan the bar code from the box. However, you already threw the box in the garbage a long time ago.
- You make a mistake when filling out the rebate form. Certain marketers ask for a specific color ink or block capitals to be used, while others request that you circle the price on the receipt.
- The rebate form is not easily accessible. Not only that, but it may also be even be posted obscurely online for a few days. It happens a lot, while victims simply forget to complete it or mail it.
- The rebate marketer doesn't pay unless and until you chase them for your money. It is not uncommon that they don't pay at all, justifying they didn't receive your claim. They may even refuse to accept copies as evidence.
- The marketer imposes restrictions on those who can claim—for example, requiring that you must have bought the item from a particular retailer and have not requested a previous rebate.
- The marketer may ask you to fill in multiple rebate forms, all requiring different bits of evidence—the more work for you, the better for them.
- If the payment is by check, it must be banked by a specific date – very close to the day you receive it. You forget it for a week; you are burnt. Which takes us to the next reason, connected:
- Missing the deadline for submitting the claim. Deceivingly, some promos seem to be available for months, but the small print asks you to submit your request within a couple of weeks.
Last but not least, watch the video below to see an explanation of the rebate scam:
Rebate Scams: How To Report
Warn your family and friends about the rebate scams by sharing this article on social media using the buttons provided. You can also officially report the scammers to the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:
How To Prevent Identity Theft and More
If you want to be the first to find out the most notorious scams every week, feel free to subscribe to the Scam Detector newsletter here. You'll receive periodic emails – we promise not to spam. Meanwhile, educate yourself with some other fraud-related articles right under this paragraph, so that you can protect yourself in many other aspects and niches. Last but not least, use the Comments section below to expose other scammers.
Here are some must-reads for the end:
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