Don’t Get Scammed By Fake Coupons
If you decide to buy manufacturers’ coupons for groceries from an eBay seller, questionable online grocery coupons websites or other coupons sellers, make sure you are not buying fake coupons. These fake coupons, or counterfeit coupons, are usually the ones that you print out yourself after downloading them from a website and are not the printed coupons that come in your Sunday papers.
Coupon fraud is on the rise as the county’s economy worsens. However, most of the time, these fake coupons are passed around not to make money but just to do harm. Fake coupons cheat grocers, retailers, and honest coupon clippers. Generally, if a store is hit with many fake coupons and the store cannot absorb the losses, the losses will be passed on to all the stores’ customers in the form of higher prices. These fake coupons will also make the store’s management reluctant to accept printed coupons.
Counterfeit coupons are difficult to spot because they look like real coupons. However, there are a few clues that will help you tell them apart.
One clue that will tell you if a coupon is a fake is a missing redemption dates. Real coupons for groceries usually have an expiration date printed on the coupon, or expressly printed on the coupons that the coupons do not expire.
Another clue that will help you tell a fake from the real thing is a missing bar codes on the fake coupon. The manufacturers that issued the coupons and the stores that accept the coupons use bar codes to track the coupons.
Another telltale clue is if the coupon is for an unusually high dollar-off such as a coupon for $3.00 off on a $4.00 product. Generally, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
In addition, consider where the coupon is coming from. If the coupon is being passed around by chain e-mails, chances are that it is a fake and worthless. Legitimate coupons generally can only be printed from the site that offers them and cannot be forwarded in an e-mail as an attachment.
If you do find an online coupon that you are interested in, especially if it is from a site you are not familiar with, you may want to check the Coupon Information Corporation (CIC) to see if the coupon is a fake. The CIC is a non-profit association set up by consumer product manufacturers to fight coupon counterfeiting and fraud.
For a current list of fake or counterfeit coupons posted by the CIC, click here.