With couponing on the rise due to both the economy and media hype, the practice of faking coupons is also on the rise. CIC (Coupon Information Company) puts out a comprehensive list of fake coupons (including recents such as Magnum, Gatorade, and Purina fakes) that they have found. CIC also helps to bring awareness of fraudulent use of couponing (such as the speculation around J’aime Kirlew’s feature on TLC’s Extreme Couponing).
Recently the FBI arrested Luca Townsend Henderson (AKA “the Coupon Guy”) and charged him with counterfeit coupon related crimes – Henderson allegedly distributed counterfeit coupons and an instruction manual on how to make counterfeit coupons – and faces up to 30 years in prison.
When you find a coupon online make sure it isn’t fraudulent by checking the source – REAL coupons will always come from the manufacturer’s website, Facebook Page, or reputable sites such as Coupons.com, RedPlum.com, Coupon Network, or Smart Source. Also, please be aware of coupon clipping sites. You never know what you are going to get. And if the site or person you are buying from is found to obtain their coupons illegally (stealing from unbought papers, etc) – guess what? YOU are technically purchasing stolen property.
Fraudulent couponing practices affect EVERYONE – the store taking it won’t get paid back from the company, the consumer can be put on the spot and embarrassed, and the companies start giving out lower value coupons and raising their prices (which is the case for Procter & Gamble). The stores tighten their policies around couponing to protect their assets too.
If you ever see a coupon posted on a frugal site, please make sure to notify the webmaster right away. We usually get it right but sometimes get it wrong!
For more information on Coupon Fraud please see CIC.