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Identifying Fraudulent Coupons

The following is a guest post written by Katherine who is a brand representative and couponer.  If you have ever been denied the use of coupons, this article is a must-read!  Feel free to share your frustrations and concerns in the comments below this post.  Please keep things family friendly or your comments will be deleted.

Have you ever been embarrassed by a cashier who claimed your coupon is a fake? I have.

Most of the time you are (and I am) right, but sometimes they are (lame), so it’s important to keep in mind that not all bargains are as they appear. There have been an unprecedented number of fraudulent coupons circulating this year, and you may remember one recent counterfeit, extremely widely distributed through e-mail, that offered a free bag of Frito-Lay Doritos chips.

Here are some general tips about how to avoid falling prey to counterfeit coupons:

  • Simply use the coupons you obtain from your newspaper, manufacturer’s web site or their authorized coupon distributor.
  • Never pay money for a coupon (coupon books from trusted retailers excluded).
  • Do not download coupons from Internet forums.
  • Google a deal or coupon if it seems too good to be true.
  • If a friend e-mails you coupons that look unprofessional, especially high value or free product coupons, they may be counterfeit.
Most manufacturers follow common sense practices about Internet Print-at-Home Coupons, for example, the coupon itself should not be visible on your computer screen. A copy of these guidelines is available here:  http://www.cents-off.com/doc/InternetCouponStudy042308.pdf.

For a copy of guidelines and to see a list of identified fraudulent coupons, go to Coupon Information Center’s website:    http://www.cents-off.com/coupon-fraud-list.php?st=84bc3.

Ways to identify this fraudulent Doritos coupon:
· Offer is for a free bag up to $5
· No purchase required and doesn't feature a CIC hologram foil strip under expiration date
· There is only one barcode in the right hand side
· Coupon was distributed via e-mail

I know this is a bit of a downer, but I don’t want you to be embarrassed if you can help it. I’ve been through it and it stinks.

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Anonymous said...

Great info. Thanks.

CJ said...

I've been accused of using fake coupons by a Petsmart cashier for a Purina cat treats B1G1 coupon printed directly from coupons.com, and for a Prairie Farms coupon printed directly from that company's website. It's embrassing and frustrating, when I know I always play by the rules.


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