How to Tell if a Coupon is Fraudulent

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, 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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Why Mobile Coupons On Trend?

Mobile Couponing – The Way of the Future

Smartphone adoption is continuing to rise, and more are people upgraded their mobile. These new smartphone owners have an extensive range of apps and features to choose from, offering everything from GPS capabilities to the option of making payments with a mobile wallet. As the standard transaction model branches out from the typical process of handing over cash or swiping a card at the register, couponing is evolving too.

Modern American society is growing increasingly hip and tech-savvy, which is a trend that businesses were adjusting to maximize their mobile consumer engagement opportunities.

A recent report from Gallup found that half of Americans identify with being either “super tech adopters” or “smartphone reliants.” The first categories of people are extremely likely to use new technology – 100 percent of them own smartphones.

Mobile couponing a good match for millennials
“Mobile commerce in general is just exploding,” John Pletz, technology blogger and senior reporter at Crain’s Chicago Business, told WTTW-TV – and mobile couponing is no exception. “You’ve got an entire generation coming along, that are willing to buy things on their phones.”

Pletz explained that while members of older generations might balk at the idea of using communication devices to make purchases, millennials are accustomed to relying on their phones when completing a large range of tasks, including using mobile payments to buy anything from groceries to airline tickets.

What Makes it Popular Compared to Traditional Couponing?






1: Mobile Coupons are convenient to clip, carry and use for consumers.
With the advent of services such as iOS’s Passbook, Mobile Coupons can be stored and carried everywhere at all times. You don’t have to think about which coupons you are bringing to store for redemption. Everything is in one place, a click or two away. Nor do you have to look for the coupons in and around your house, in the car, on the grocery receipt, or in the back of a box. Find your Smartphone and you have found all your mobile coupons.

2: Catch The Latest offers

Marketers unlock new insights through mobile coupons: who is interested in what kind of offers, and where and when do they clip and redeem them? Additionally, they combine simple mobile loyalty services with mobile coupons. They creates a mobile opt-in database—aka mobile “loyalty list”— from there they sending you the latest offers you can get from them.

3: Mobile Coupons are… Mobile.
Marketers can send targeted mobile coupons when a customer is near their store, inside their store, or even in and around a competitor’s store. By doing so, they earn customer’s loyalty while adding value for them. So you don’t need to go to the coupon box and sort coupons, deals that they offer for the day, they will simply send them to you when you are at their stores premises.



Mobile couponing – the way of the future

New study illustrates American reliance on smartphones

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