Coupon Fraud





Fraudulent Starbucks CouponI haven’t talked alot about fake or fraudulent coupons, but, it’s important that you are aware.  They are out there.  Sometimes they circulate by email.  If you receive a coupon that you think might not be legitimate, you can go to the Coupon Information Corporation and check it out.  You can search for a product name and see the info and actual fraudulent coupon that is circulating, if there is one. Some things you can keep in mind when you get a coupon that is too good to be true is, if it is a pdf and you are not limited to how many you can print – be wary.  If it is for a FREE product – be wary, if it is a high value coupon for a large product – be wary.   If there is no expiration date – DUH – that’s a no brainer!  For instance I LOVE Ruffles, but, I rarely see a Ruffles coupon, if I were to get an email with ANY coupon for Ruffles, I would be wary because I don’t see them often.  If that coupon were for FREE Ruffles, again, I would be very wary and check it out.  Just use common sense, really.  Manufacturers do not generally distribute coupons by email, nor do they tell you to print as many as you like, they send you an email telling you to come to their site and print out a coupon.Fraudulent Bertolli Coupon The printable coupons that I have here on my site are from reputable coupon printing companies, and the manufacturer’s sites, too.  I try to be careful and make sure that all the coupons I post here are legitimate. What’s the harm?  Sadly, I have to answer this, because someone will think it!  It’s stealing, plain and simple.  It’s illegal Coupon Fraudand can get the person who passed it on to you in trouble and the person who tries to use it in trouble.  Deep trouble – Criminal Prosecution and/or Civil Action can be taken against: INDIVIDUALS AND INTERNET SITES ATTEMPTING TO REDEEM, TRANSMIT, AUCTION, POST, REPRODUCE, TRANSFER, BARTER OR SELL COUNTERFEIT COUPONS MAY BE SUBJECT TO CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR CIVIL ACTION.  We need to make sure that we are doing our part, because this is why stores often don’t want to take printable coupons and make it so hard on us who are doing it the right way.  One bad apple spoils the whole bunch! What do you do if you get an email with a fraudulent coupon in it?  Make sure to email the person who sent it to you and tell them it is fraudulent and what can happen if they pass it around and ask them to email everyone that they emailed it to and explain.  Then forward the email with any attachments to the CIC. Here is a current fraudulent coupon that is making the rounds in email – be on the lookout: Fraudulent Dorito Coupon From Frito-Lay: “We have also been alerted to a fraudulent $5 coupon offer for Doritos chips that is circulating on the internet. This $5 coupon offer is not authorized by Frito-Lay. The invalid $5 coupon may not be accepted at retail outlets. We regret any inconvenience. We’re working to find ways to prevent these types of counterfeit offers from misleading our consumers.” If you have noticed, the coupons that have been coming in the mail lately for FREE things we have signed up for, have holograms on them and watermarks, some have our names on them, they are really trying to make it clear that it is a real coupon as well as trying to make it harder for counterfeiters. So, be a part of the solution, not the problem.  Help educate your friends and family who aren’t as coupon knowledgeable as you and that will make it easier on all of us!  Thanks Michelle!




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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Julia June 7, 2010 at 2:16 pm

I just wanted to say thank you for the info. I have come across a few coupons that were fraudulent and thought they were real. Not only has this caused me to waste paper, ink, trip to the store (leaving empty handed), but it is also embarrassing. I mean – it just makes me feel like I am trying to rip off the retailer. Most recently was a Macy’s coupon for free pair of Jockey on the spot undies. No good. A couple of my local grocers won’t even accept coupons from the internet anymore. :(

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2 Dian June 7, 2010 at 2:23 pm

@Julia: I know, we all suffer when people try to cheat! I am happy to supply this info to help us all.
Thanks for sharing!
Dian

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3 Michelle June 7, 2010 at 10:58 pm

I’ve been having the same problems as well. The checker at Albertsons on Saturday accused me of fraud because I was trying to use an Internet coupon for the Huggies diapers coupons and the libbys veggies. I explained that they were real and pointed out several spots to show her. All she said was all Internet coupons are fraud and we are supposed to report it. She called the manager up there and he took them, they went through the system no problem. Now, I’m fighting with the store over the whole thing. Its ridiculous what we as true couponers are having to go through just to save a little bit of extra money.

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4 Dian June 7, 2010 at 11:04 pm

@Michelle: Very True! I am sorry for what you went through, that cashier should have been more well trained! I hate it when they aren’t and then they make us feel like we are trying to do something wrong! I hope you can get your manager to train his/her staff better!
Thanks!
Dian

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5 Sharon July 10, 2010 at 9:55 pm

I had some issues using my IP coupons at my local Price Chopper store. I live near Kansas city Missouri. The manager even told me that very soon they would no longer be accepting IP coupons due to fraud issue.

I was very concerned, so I e-mailed the Corporate office about the possible change in their policy.

Here was the response i received….

Thank you for your feedback I have forwarded your concerns on to be considered in any changes that are coming to the program.

Thank you

Chopper Shopper Rewards Customer Care

Not much of an answer so I suggested that they look into e-coupons & this is what they said ….

I apologize that I did not mention the E-Coupons in my earlier eamil to you. The E-coupons are currently in the process of being implemented. We were advised that the programs availability is going to be advertised via email alert, in the weekly ads and in local stores. We are anxiously awaiting this new feature as well.

Thank you again

XXXXX

names withheld to protect the innocent Laugh

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6 Dian July 10, 2010 at 9:58 pm

@Sharon: Great Sharon! Thanks for sharing that! It’s always best for us to fully informed on whatever changes are being made at the stores we frequent!
Thanks Again!
Dian

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7 Melody September 23, 2010 at 12:37 pm

One of the easiest ways to tell is if there is no upc code. I am pretty sure that legitimate coupons these days always have a barcode.

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8 Dian September 23, 2010 at 1:00 pm

@Melody: Yep! That is definitely 1 major way to tell, if there is no barcode – it’s is probably not a real coupon!
Thanks!
Dian

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9 Seraiah October 21, 2010 at 2:21 am

It’s interesting that you have a picture of a starbucks coupon as fraudulent.
I have received a coupon from Starbucks right from the cashier when I came back because he messed up my drink (left the coffee out.. hehe). It also did not have an expiration date, and I’m not sure about a bar code either. I have seen them being sold on ebay. All coupons with these features are not fraud, so this is even trickier than it looks; it’s not always just a matter of common sense.

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10 Dian October 21, 2010 at 9:59 am

I am sure if you compared the fake coupon to the one you received you would be able to tell the difference. I would be wary of purchasing FREE item coupon for anything, other than the coupons that come out of the Sunday morning inserts.
Thanks!
Dian

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11 Seraiah October 21, 2010 at 2:22 am

Also I’m getting an error when I click on the CIC link.

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12 Dian October 21, 2010 at 9:57 am

Thanks, I fixed it.
Dian

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13 Sabrina April 11, 2011 at 12:30 am

Thanks for the great information. I know our local HEB store said that if the internet coupons do not scan (even due to lack of ink) then they will not accept them, but as long as they scan they will accept them. I have noticed though, in our HEB a lot of the manufacturers coupons are hanging by the products, which makes it a little easier.

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14 Renee May 15, 2011 at 10:45 am

This has happened to me before. It is extremely embarrassing. I was planning on going to a particular store and decided to do a google search, found one. The cashier explained that they had a recent coupon similar and found that someone tried to duplicate it. They real one was only something received in the mail. I wasn’t the only one who had come in with this fake. She was nice enough to pull the real thing out and let me use but I felt so bad. Like you said Dian, one bad apple is all it takes to spoil the bunch. Sad!

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15 Tammie July 12, 2011 at 10:22 pm

I live in ATL, GA and last week atWalMart one of my printed coupons wouldn’t scan, so I asked th young cashier to try the others, and if they didn’t work to type in the bar code – which is done quit frequently if it won’t scan. When he said he needed to call the front manager I knew I was doomed.
Not only the front end mgr come over, but two other coupon natzis swarmed on me like I had my own printing press in my purse.
The FEMGR said:”These coupons are fraudulent and by you using them YOU are commiting faud, and we do NOT get reimbursed for these FRAUDULENT coupons!” She said this rather loudly, which made everyone around me stare at me like I was a criminal.
I very calmly told her that the printed coupns were from a reputible site, showed her my print out sheet, and said I had used THE same coupon last week and it scanned. They didn’t care. If it won’t scan, they won’t accept it, period.
I didn’t make a fuss about it because I love shoping at my local WalMart and don’t want to be seen as a DEMANDING COUPONER!
My next stop was Publix, who is super great when it comes to accepting printed coupons. They scanned the same coupons I tried to use at WalMart, with no problem. Go figure?!

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16 Dian July 12, 2011 at 10:48 pm

Tammie » Wow! I hate that stuff, people think they know something and they don’t! What possesses people who don’t know you to say you are a criminal? I am glad you had a calm reaction and handled the situation well, and I laughed outloud at your description at the checkout!
Thanks!
Dian

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17 Tina November 14, 2011 at 5:06 am

I’m sorry that happened to you but I also laughed out loud at your description of the whole incident and the whole while seeing myself at Walmart register in the exact same predicament, feeling the exact same way, as it just happened to me a couple of weeks ago, and you’d never guess where…@ Walmart! I’ve gone there a hanfuld of times and only once did it go smoothly. Out of 5 cashiers, 4 were coupon Nazis, so I’m staying away unless I can figure out what shift the one cashier works! :-)

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18 Jeannine April 10, 2012 at 9:49 pm

Tammie, I’m beginning to think it’s just a “thing” with Walmart. I live in Canton, GA, just north of Atlanta and our local Walmart does NOT like accepting coupons. While I like shopping at Walmart I won’t shop there with coupons for the exact same reasons you described above. My local Publix however, is awesome with coupons so unfortunately for Walmart, they’ve lost my grocery business to Publix. Sorry for their bad luck! LOL!

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19 Kaity June 23, 2012 at 6:26 pm

It’s not just at Walmart. It’s at Kroger too. It happened to me to day with a coupon printed from Oikos website for yogurt. Honestly for someone to stand there and accuse you of fraud is accusing you of a felony and it is slander. I can understand that stores have to be diligent about not being taken advantage of but they really need to train their employees to handle a situation better. Sorry Kroger but you just lost a $400 a month customer today. I’ll be shopping at Publix.

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20 Deanna February 24, 2013 at 2:06 am

I was at Kroger yesterday. I was trying to use a coupon I got from Pepsi, they had a giveaway of 1 million free Pepsi Next coupons during the Super Bowl. I signed up for it, and got my coupon in the mail. tried using the coupon at kroger and a worker came over because it wouldn’t scanned. First thing out of her mouth was “this is photocopied”. And then kept repeating it quite loud and everyone was staring at me, and she pointed out all of the security things on the coupon and said those are proof it’s fake. I stood there maybe 4-5 minutes, she didn’t look at me once but just repeating it’s a fraud, they do not accept fake coupons, it’s a photocopy. She said photocopy a good 8-9x, quite loudly too where everyone in the area was staring. And not once did she look at me. And I said ” I want my coupons back and take the items off my order”. I reached my hand out for the coupons, she handed them back to me, not looking at me again and repeated “We can’t take fake coupons.” I emailed corporate with her name. Waiting on a response.

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21 Dian February 24, 2013 at 7:26 am

Deanna » Wow! I am so sorry that happened to you!
I have that same coupon! It is NOT fake and that was just wrong! I would also speak to the manager at that store – that employee needs more training and should apologize to you.
This is what happens because so many have done it wrong and have tried to cheat the system, now we are all under scrutiny because of people who can’t do things the right way!
Let us know what happens with corporate, plese.
Dian

22 amy July 25, 2011 at 9:07 pm

i get alot of free coupons for signing up also on their sites or calling the companies and giving compliments

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23 couponsensei August 31, 2011 at 10:32 am

Hello Ruffles lover!

There is a $2 off Ruffles wyb Pepsi or Pepsi Max out there. Exp. 9/11/11

Just an FYI

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24 Diana Parker September 26, 2011 at 9:00 pm

I tried to redeem a coupon at Krogers but it was rejected. I received it directly from the manufacturer and they tried to tell me it was a fake. I told them to call the manufacturer and they could verify. They refused. It is not on the Coupon Information Center as a fake coupon and the sole reason they gave me was that it was a free coupon. I hear Krogers is over zealous in their coupon enforcement policy. Maybe they have to be….but there ARE some real free items out there. Whoever is doing this with fake coupons is ruining it for everyone.

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25 Dian September 26, 2011 at 9:30 pm

Diana Parker » I am sorry they treated you badly – I am not happy with them right now. What was the coupon for?
Dian

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26 Carla December 12, 2011 at 7:24 pm

I Have a coupon for a free cooks ham up to 20.00 it has a water mark on it i think it’s real what happens if i go to the store and it’s not real?

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27 Dian December 12, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Carla » Where did you get the coupon? That will help determine if it’s fake or not, too.
Dian

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28 Carla December 13, 2011 at 9:10 pm

I bought it on ebay but it has a watercrest on it I also bought one for a free product threw mcneal but i called the company and that one is a real coupon!!!! so i’m hoping the cooks ham one is not a fake i will call the company just to verify.

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29 Arienne December 16, 2011 at 5:05 pm

I have had so much trouble using coupons at my local walmart. Our Target has it’s own coupon policy to stop coupon fraud. They make me feel like a criminal everytime I go there coupon shopping! I am a very honest coupon user however I have seen a lady use the wrong coupon to get products for free and her coupons all went thru! How can I be harassed while this woman gets no trouble?

She was using Crest whitestrip coupons to get free oil-of-olay gift packs. she received the gift packs free and also received a $5 Target card for each 2 gift packs. How can that work and the question every honest coupon I use?

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30 Dian December 16, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Arienne » It is annoying – it’s like the car that is flying down the road never gets spotted but, if we go 10 over here they come out of nowhere after us!
It can be frustrating, but, we just keep doing what’s right!
Dian

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31 Dian December 16, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Arienne » That’s annoying I know! Sorry – we just have to do what we know is right!
Dian

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32 Michelle June 1, 2012 at 9:28 pm

How can you rant about coupon fraud but then in a video tell people how to use a coupon on a incorrect item. For example, in your video you step by step explain how you can use a raisin bran coupon on rice crispies.

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33 Dian June 1, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Michelle,
In which video?
Thanks,
Dian

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34 Michelle June 2, 2012 at 12:20 am

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Grocery Shop for FREE is a coupon & deal blog where you can learn to shop for FREE using grocery coupons.  You can use our Coupon Database to find most available coupons, including printable coupons. You can start by using our many weekly store coupon match-ups including WalmartKroger, CVS, and Walgreens. You can also enter giveaways, learn about Coupon Fraud, and read or print store coupon policies. Whatever you are looking for you can find it here!  If you ever have any questions or need anything, please feel free to reach out and ask me!