How to Spot Fraudulent Coupons

[ 0 ] October 3, 2011 |

Saving money by using coupons is pretty awesome!

Really, who doesn’t like saving money? Up ’til now in our How to Coupon series it’s been pretty much puppies and rainbows. But with any party, there’s always someone in the corner being a downer, thinking of ways to ruin the vibe.

This culprit in the coupon world is the fraudster.

Coupon fraud is a giant problem in the industry. Not just for retailers, but for consumers too. Every time a retailer gets taken by a fraudster, they have to boost the prices to make up for lost profit. Everyone loses. Oh, and if you’re caught attempting to scam a store with fake coupons you could face up to a $5 million fine and up to 17 years in prison. Yikes!

This story has a happy ending though. There are a few ways to protect yourself from using fake coupons. Josh Elledge of has published a few articles on the subject and let us in on some of the best tips:

  • Stay away from buying coupons. This is NEVER legal (unless it’s a group-buy model). Why would you want to buy a coupon when others have gotten it for free anyway?
  • Watch for offers that are too good to be true. It probably is.
  • Look for typos & value inconsistencies in the coupon.
  • Valid coupons will most likely have an expiration date.
  • Be suspicious of emails with many different manufacturer printables. Usually manufacturers will send out their own emails.

Still second guessing a printed coupon? Check out the Coupon Information Center ( for a list of fraudulent coupons that have been tracked down.

Using printable coupons is a great way to save some serious money on things you need and even things you just HAVE to have. Just be a smart shopper and don’t forget to check yourself before you wreck yourself…or something like that.

This is the last post in our 7-part blog series. Every Monday we broke down the different elements of couponing and showed you how you can use them to become a savvy couponer. Related posts in this series:

Category: shopping tips

About Shannon: Shannon is a savvy saver and lover of all things fashion and beauty. As a lover of pop-culture, she'll keep you up-to-date on all the hottest news and trends. You can find her tweeting on @FabulousSavings. View author profile.

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