Are you Using Fake Coupons?

A pile of couponsAbout 3 years ago I went into my local pharmacy to pick up a prescription, and the pharmacist told me that he couldn’t accept my $10 bill because it was counterfeit.  I honestly could not believe what I was hearing.  Where had that fake money come from?  Did he think that I was trying to scam him?  I mean really, do I look like a criminal?

Although I’d obviously heard that counterfeit money existed, I never thought I’d be the one to own it.  After all, wasn’t it made by people who wanted to become instant millionaires?    Now, as an avid coupon user, I’ve been shocked to learn that there are thousands of fake coupons are nearly as common as counterfeit money.  Really!  And, while I fully support the use of coupons to save money, I vehemently oppose the use of fraudulent coupons or fake coupons of any kind.  Not only is this practice illegal, but it causes manufacturers and retailers to lose money, which ultimately means that they’ll raise prices, which will not only afflict you, but will distress consumers nationwide.

You can rest assured that if you use any coupons from my website, or Facebook page they’re 100% legitimate.  But since you’re probably getting coupons from other places as well, here are some ways to tell if they’re real – or if you may accidentally be using fake coupons.

  • Be wary of high-value coupons. Many fake coupons are those with high values (over $1 or $2).  A classic example of a fake coupon of this nature would be a coupon to save $5 off a cosmetic line where products retail for $6-$8.  Companies generally don’t give away their products in this way.
  • Fake Target logo

  • Verify  the company’s logo. Just last week there was a scam circulating on Facebook in which users were conned into liking a certain page to get free items at Target.  What most users didn’t notice is that the logo had an extra period in it, signifying the fraud.  As I just said – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
  • Look for a bar code.  Another easy way to tell if you’re using a fake coupon is to look for a bar code, UPC code or any other scanning code.  If the coupon doesn’t have one, you can probably assume it’s fake.
  • Check for legal jargon.  Ever read the fine print of a coupon?  It’s utterly fascinating, and tells you that the actual value of the coupon is something like 1/30th of one cent.  If your coupon is missing this legalese, it’s probably a fake coupon.
  • Peek at the expiration date.  In the days of my youth (ah, the olden days), there used to be such a thing as a coupon with ‘no expiration date’.  Sadly, the days of those savings are long gone, and today’s coupons generally expire quickly.  You can expose fake coupons by noting if they don’t have an expiration date.  If it says ‘no expiration date’ you may want to check with the manufacturer before using the coupon.
  • Double check printable coupons.  I don’t mean to discriminate against printable coupons, but chances of having counterfeit coupons rise significantly when they’re internet coupons instead of those found in your local circular.  Of course there are still loads of legitimate printable coupons – just be careful before printing so that you don’t waste ink or paper on fake coupons.

Here are my favorite places to find reputable places to find printable coupons:

Got any other favorites?  Leave a comment below to share the coupons with others!

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