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See some tips on how to spot fraudulent coupons.  Just a few bad couponers can ruin it for everyone. / / Frugal Living

I hope you are with me when I say that coupons are awesome!  They are a vital part of how I stick to my weekly budget and keep costs down.  Unfortunately, like many good things, there are folks out there who take advantage of a great system and it can mess things up for all of us.Fraudulent Huggies Coupon

Fraudulent coupons are a huge issue and they are likely why you get questions or funny looks from cashiers and managers from time to time – even if you are using coupons properly.

A Southern Savers reader and cashier shared on Facebook that someone tried to use an $8 off Huggies coupon in her line. When questioned about the source of the coupon, the shopper yelled at her and demanded that she take it.

If you’ve been couponing for a while, you probably know that $8 Huggies coupons don’t really exist.  Maybe if you had a complaint or issue with diapers and the company mailed you a coupon, but more than likely it will have holograms and all sorts of other fraud protection features on it if that were the case… it’s most certainly not printable.

How can I check out a specific coupon?

Head to the Coupon Information Center website, who maintains a running list of known fraudulent coupons. Turns out, the $8 Huggies coupon is on that list!

What are some red flags?

I want us all to be informed on how to use coupons properly and how to spot fraudulent coupons, so here are some tips and resources you can use. Before I post a new coupon, you can be sure I research the source.

Here are some things that should get your fraudulent coupon radar going:

It sounds too good to be true (very high value)

It’s for a completely free product (Free Tide, free Olive Oil)

It’s a PDF and not hosted directly on the manufacturer’s site

It was forwarded to you as an email attachment from a friend

Where can I find legitimate coupons?
If you print a coupon from Coupons.com, Smartsource, CouponNetwork, RedPlum, or links from the coupon database, you can be sure that what you have is a valid coupon.  However, you may notice a coupon on the fraud list that looks like a valid printable. If someone mass copies a printable coupon – it will show up on the fraudulent list.  Always be sure to print your two from a legitimate source and never copy a coupon.

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What is Coupon Fraud?

With the increht_doritos_coupon_real_100621_fake_mnase of coupon usage, grocery store chains such as Publix are finding it necessary to provide the cashiers with more training on detecting fraudulent coupons.

With coupon usage almost up by 50 percent at Publix, training cashiers to spot fake coupon is the preferred choice rather than to stop accepting coupons that fall under the high risk categories, such as online printable coupons.

“It costs everyone money,” says Publix spokesperson Shannon Patten, “I mean, it costs Publix money. It costs our manufacturers money.”

Spotting Fake Coupons

Cashiers at Publix are trained to look out for certain industry standards that are not met when accepting coupons such as:

  • Coupons that are far more than the actual price of an item.
  • Coupons without UPC codes.
  • Coupons where a purchase is not required to redeem the coupon.
  • Coupons that do not have conditions of usage in small print.

The Importance of Being a Responsible Coupon User

Couponers have more sources than ever for finding coupons to use on a variety of grocery products, medicines, clothing, restaurants and other services. Coupons can be found on product packages, in newspapers, online, with cell phone applications and in magazines.

There are so many legitimate places to find coupons, coupon clippers should simply not use any coupon that looks questionable. Why? Because stores can only absorb so much of the loss that comes with accepting

 

Blowing the Whistle on Fake Coupons

A good source for finding out which fake coupons are being circulated is to check The Coupon Information Corporation (CIG) which keeps an updated list online of counterfeit coupons. It is also a good source for reporting a coupon that you think could be a fake.

You can also report suspected fraudulent coupons to:

  • Federal Trade Commission
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Internal Revenue Service
  • U.S. Postal Service: US Postal Inspection Service (USPIS)

What You Shouldn’t Do

What you should not do is confront anyone who you feel is involved in distributing fake coupons or running a coupon scam. Let the authorities deal with it – it’s safer. But do report coupons you see that look questionable by sending the link to where the coupon is posted online, or any other valuable information you have about where you saw or you received a questionable coupon.

Afraid of Getting Someone in Trouble?

The authorities are looking for the big coupon scammers who make a lot of money, not the people like us who could innocently post a fake coupon link. Most responsible coupon users and those who post coupons online to help others find the good deals would want to know if a coupon was a fake.

It is people like us that can help protect this invaluable way of saving money by being alert and by helping curtail the distribution and use of fake coupons.

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