If you’ve watched closely on episodes of TLC’s Extreme Couponing or if you read other popular blogs, you’ve probably noticed a lot of attention being drawn to coupon fraud. Whether it’s buying items you don’t have the correct coupons for or using “fake’ coupons to purchase items, it’s still wrong.
With so many coupons out there, how do you know if the ones you’re clipping or printing are legitimate or not? And how can you as a coupon shopper protect yourself from unknowingly using fraudulent coupons?
Below is a list of things you should never do as a consumer according to the Coupon Information Corporation:
- Photocopy coupons
- Decoding coupons
- Buying coupons
- Stealing newspapers
- Buying “extra” coupons from your newspaper carrier
- Reselling stockpiles
By photocopying coupons you are counterfeiting coupons. Even printable ones you find on the internet should never be photocopied.
Always use a coupon for the product it is intended for. If you use a coupon for something other than the product it was intended, you are committing fraud.
You could inadvertently be buying stolen or counterfeit coupons.
This is just plain wrong for any reason.
This is could be a violation of your carrier’s employment agreement.
The purpose of coupons is to give consumers a good deal on a product, not provide them with a way to make money! I personally don’t think I’d want to buy something that could have been sitting in some stranger’s basement for weeks or months!
The CIC has lots of information on their website regarding coupon fraud, including a list of fraudulent coupons that are in circulation right now. As a rule of thumb, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is!