Coupon Fraud – How to tell a Fake coupon

03/04/2012 6:02 am · 3 comments

by Sarah A Thrifty Mom

red-flag

Many people worry about using fake coupons. I’m sure at least one point in our shopping adventures we may have used one and never realized it.  Even I worry about it, So how do you spot a Fake coupon?  It is not fool proof but here are a few ideas,

Look at the image – All numbers under the bar code are the same - Flag

The coupon is multiplied over and over 6 one one page???  Most coupons do not publish coupons in multiples - Flag

Look close at the image, they are cut and pasted, how can you tell? look at the edges, one image is higher then the other, one image is offset to the left more then the top row. Do you really think a company that makes millions of dollars would allow a coupon to look so home made? - Flag

No size limits listed on coupon Flag

No watermark printed on the coupon Flag

Only one set of Bar codes Flag

Look over the Counterfeit Coupon Alert at Cents Off This coupon is listed under Doritos.

It was flagged nationally read here - Flag

It was emailed by a friend. – Flag Many coupons turn out to be for just one person. For instance, if a person signed up for discounts from a company. And one day they get a coupon in their email, it is most likely just for that person. They may not have bar codes on the email, but their is usually some form of identification on them. So if your best friend sends you an email with a coupon, see how many flags pop up.

If it is too good to be true - Flag. One coupon like this per magazine, or per newspaper is most likely real. If you get multiple papers sure its real… you got them in a paper and purchased multiple papers… But if you are handed something from a friend, or emailed an image or PDF then its most likely is fake.

So what do you do? Politely tell your friend why you think they are fake, and let them decide for them self.  Sure they probably didn’t make them, they were given them too. But if we all used them and did not tell our friends not to use them then we will all suffer!

Why?

Stores make a profit off of coupons. For instance, you use a $1 off coupon. The store takes that coupon, gives you the $1 off out of their own pocket. Knowing that the store will get reimbursed. If it is a real coupon not only will they get reimbursed by the manufacture, but they are also paid on average 8 cents extra to process the coupon and mail it back to the manufacturer. It usually cost the store about 4 cents per coupon to process, pay the book keeper to enter, and submit for reimbursement. So on average the store will be paid $1.08 for that $1 off coupon you used. Minus processing of about 4 cents, the store is reimbursed the $1 and now has a 4 cent profit. It may not seem like much, but multiplied by the millions of coupons used, that is a huge profit for them.

Now if we all allowed our friends to use them, or if we use these fakes our self, then that 4 cent profit is lost, along with paying a book keeper 4 cent per coupon to process it! Not only that but the $1 off coupon is not reimbursable and the store will loose $1 for every fake $1 off coupon submitted by shoppers. And in the image we looked at in this post, the cost of each entire bag of Doritos (because they are labeled FREE)

When stores lose money they will STOP taking coupons all together to save their bottom line. We have all come across a store that has done this, at least for a while! So guard your store, help them make a profit or we will used the privileged of couponing.

Book mark this link HERE to scan over fake coupon alerts

Remember the Doritos coupon from yesterday? There is a $2500 reward for companies or individuals promoting this coupon as legitimate Read Here

Leave a Comment: 3 comments

Filed Under: Back to Basics, Coupons, Coupons 101 part 4

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3 comments
Jess
Jess

How could you ever prove someone "knowingly" used a fake coupon? I got a coupon from a friend last night and used it this morning at CVS. It scanned just fine. She called me to let me know she found out they were fake today. I called the CVS to let them know I would do whatever they would like me to do. The only other option other than not prosecuting people that use fake coupons is to prosecute EVERYBODY that uses a fake coupon....no way to prove they did it "knowingly". I know I sure didn't and neither did my friend.

Kim M
Kim M

Your post was perfect timing for me. I won 3 free Gorton's coupons from 2 different giveaways. I went to use them last week at Albertson's on the BOGO. The cashier had to call over a manager to read what popped up on the cashier's screen. They had never seen that before. I had to ask them what it said. They told me "possible fraudulent coupon". They asked if I got them from the manufacture? I told them how I got them. Of course they had to refuse them. I was slightly embarrassed. They are not printed on ."shiny" paper that may come directly from a manufaturer but they have a watermark print. Thee is no size or maxium amount restriction. Also 2 have a different expiration dates then the third coupon. Overall I would of never questioned this coupon. My only thought was that the store was pricing the BOGO for $7.19 and it raised a red flag for them. I am going to research this. coupon.

Tonya
Tonya

People that knowingly use fake coupons should be prosecuted for committing a crime. That make it harder of those of us that coupon correctly.

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