With the boatload of coupons that have come out in the past few weeks, it was bound to happen. The number of fraudulent coupons has increased exponentially in the last few months. Very likely the counterfeiters want to sell these to people who are desperate to save money in a country where unemployment is at 10%. But hear this – they won’t beep in register systems, and cashiers are on the lookout for them. If you use these, you could be in trouble.
Don’t buy printed coupons on eBay or from any subscription service. This is different from people who offer newspaper and magazine coupons “for a handling fee”. Actually, it is illegal to buy and sell coupons at all. However, when the coupons are clipped from newspapers and magazines, at least the coupons themselves are genuine.
Be suspicious of any printed coupon that has a high “too good to be true” value. The latest round of counterfeits actually have been able to duplicate the Smart Source watermark, so the really do appear genuine. The codes however tell another story. It is possible that a cashier could be duped, and manually enter the coupon, but don’t bet on it. Most honest couponers have had trouble getting at least one untrained cashiers to accept our coupons legitimately – they tend to err on the side of caution!
Counterfeit coupons hurt honest couponers. Due to widespread fraud, manufacturers won’t let you download a printable coupon for a free item now – you have to wait for it in the mail. Dollar General will not accept internet printable coupons at all. This is really sad, because the deals there are really great when combined with the high values of many coupons featured on legitimate sites like coupons.com.If you come across these people on eBay or other auction sites, or coupon trading sites, report them. Let’s shut them down and protect the real deals for us!
A list of some of the counterfeits is here. There’s a $2500 reward for identifying the counterfeiter on some of these. If you’ve been scammed, that would be a pretty good payback! There are at least 70 new counterfeits out there.