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Simple Saving Savvy: Fraudulent Coupons - Nurture future savings by....

Simple Saving Savvy

Practicing Wise Stewardship & Blessing Others Out of Our Abundance

Monday, June 29, 2009

Fraudulent Coupons - Nurture future savings by....


Unfortunately in this fallen world, every good thing is marred by the sinful nature of humans. The “coupon game” has not been left untouched by this phenomenon. Our tendency towards greed and selfishness and the need for instant gratification affects even the world of couponing. As a 3-year coupon veteran, blog owner and on-line community member, I am bombarded by fraudulent coupon use everywhere I turn. If you are a coupon user and you haven’t been faced with this yet, rest assured, you will.

Using coupons in a way other than what the manufacturer intended is wrong. This includes but is not limited to:

Using the coupon for an item other than what the coupon states
~Using the coupon for another quantity
~Obtaining a coupon from an unauthorized medium
~Reproducing a coupon in any way (this includes scanning, photocopying, digitally reproducing, etc.)

We are living in the age of technology and with the invention of Internet distributed and printable coupons, coupon fraud is at an all time high and this makes you more susceptible without being aware. For this reason I am going to focus on “Internet coupon fraud” . Readers sometimes send me links to “amazing” coupons they want to share and I have to sadly inform them that the use of these coupons would be fraudulent.

Sometimes it's not even that the coupon itself is fraudulent but the use for which it was intended is being violated or exploited. For example, if a coupon is given as a reward for going through a sign-up process or participating in a survey, it would be fraudulent to circulate the link to that coupon for others to print all the while not having participated in the requirements to receive said coupon.

Most of the time, it is not the intention of others to promote the use of a fraudulent coupon. They are actually not aware that the coupon IS fraudulent.

I don’t want to scare you away from using Internet coupons, however, I do want to make you aware of what’s out there and share with you a few ways you can determine if the coupons you are printing or sharing are legitimate and legal.

If you have ever received a coupon via email for a free item or maybe an amount that is too good to be true, you may be looking at a fraudulent coupon. There are a few resources at your fingertips for researching the validity of a specific coupon:

You can visit the Coupon Information Corporation at to verify the authenticity of those coupons. The CIC is an entity dedicated to fighting coupon fraud and they work closely with manufacturers and retailers to fight coupon misredemption and counterfeiting. They keep a list of coupons that have been identified as fraudulent by the manufacturers. If you are ever in doubt, look it up on this resource.

~Hot Coupon World has a forum called “It’s Got To Be Real”. This forum helps members track and identify fraudulent coupons. I have used this forum more than once for my own questions.

Sometimes these resources can take time when you want an answer NOW so in all cases, use your own common sense in determining the authenticity of the questionable coupon:

If you received a coupon in pdf or jpg form that cannot be linked back to a manufacturer’s website, chances are it is fraudulent. Coupons for FREE items that can be printed from your home computer should set off a red flag for you. Just because the web address is listed in the printable link does not mean it’s valid. Go to the website and see if the coupon is offered directly through the website before printing.

I personally do not advocate buying coupons from eBay and other sources. However, if you do purchase coupons, always be wary of “buying” FREE item coupons that you know did not come from a newspaper insert.

Always be concerned when a seller has more than one free item coupon on sale and it is selling multiples of it. FREE item coupons are usually mailed directly from the manufacturer to the consumer. They almost always have a watermark or hologram on them to prevent copying and coupon fraud. It is very rare that one person will have multiples of the same free item coupon.
~Always email the seller and confirm with them that the coupon was mailed to them directly from the manufacturer. If they can’t verify this information, don’t buy those coupons, because chances are very good that they are fake.

If you learn that a coupon you have purchase is fake, contact the seller and the marketing source immediately.

Fraudulent coupon use hurts us all. It may get you a good deal “here and now” but the more money companies lose through fraudulent coupon practices and prosecution costs, the less eager they are to provide consumers with future amazing offers. And I don't know about you but doing things the honest and ethical way provides my family with more FREE and CHEAP STUFF than we can even use ourselves. I want to keep it that way!



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