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Couponing 101: Be Aware of Fraudulent Coupons and How to Check

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It’s been quite a while since I’ve talked to you guys about fraudulent coupons.  I just discovered yet another through a reader question today from Facebook so I want to take a moment to bring the topic up again. (Thanks, Jessica N.!)

Please be aware of the possibility of fraudulent coupons out there guys!

Some people try to abuse the system and create fake coupons that pretty much end up ruining it all for the rest of us.  Basically a really good rule of thumb is, if it looks suspicious or too good to be true, then it probably is!  *Especially* if it is in PDF format.

Some tips for spotting fraudulent coupons

  1. If you get an email with a PDF coupon – a red alert should be going off in your head.  Even if that email “looks” like it is coming from the manufacturer or even if it is a friend or family member forwarding it on. Legitimate coupons nowadays 99.99% will NOT be in PDF format.  (think about it – its common sense that a manufacturer would NOT want you to be printing off 100 of them!)
  2. Buying/Selling coupons is ILLEGAL and considered FRAUD.  There is never s good reason to buy or sell a coupon.  EVER. Check out my great post on How to Get Coupons for the Brands and Products You Already Love and Use.
  3. If in doubt, check the Coupon Information Corporation’s list of Fraudulent Coupons

A word about coupon clipping services and sales of coupons on eBay

I do not advocate or ever advise that people use coupon clipping services or purchase coupon from eBay.  Now, I may get a lot of heat for this statement, but honestly – I don’t care.  I pride myself and my blog on always giving you honest, legitimate deals that are not spammy or shady in any way.  I will NEVER knowingly advise you to do otherwise!

Selling coupons violates all manufacturer coupon redemption policies.  I believe (and many people will agree) that the practice of selling inserts is HURTING the consumer and honest couponer, like myself.  Due to the practices of people on shows like TLC’s “Extreme Couponing“, manufacturers have drastically cut back and reduced the values and amounts of coupons they offer.  Just last year the P&G inserts used to regularly have wonderful BOGO coupons and the expiration dates were longer than just 1 month.  You can see that now, these are a rare occurrence.  These changes are due to people who abuse the system.  There is NO REASON to clear shelves and buy 100 or 50 or even 20 of the same item!!!  I *promise* you another sale for that item will come again in a couple months.  (they always go in cycles!!)  Buy what you need for now and let other people take advantage of the deal too :)

Individuals selling or auctioning coupons are clearly aware that these sales and auctions are in violation of the terms and conditions of the coupons. In an effort to circumvent the laws and make themselves “innocent”, they include some sort of statement such as, “I’m selling my time to clip the coupons, not the coupons themselves”. Such disclaimers are NOT valid and do not provide any legal protection to either party and only go to prove that they are aware of possible civil and/or criminal penalties for their actions.

If you have extra coupons, expired coupons or coupons you won’t use – PLEASE do a good deed and send them to our US Troops instead!

If you're looking for more free printable coupons, you can see the most recent ones blogged about here or search for exactly the one you want using our free searchable coupon database!
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About Crazy Coupon Mommy

The Crazy Coupon Mommy makes saving money and shopping smart so ridiculously easy, that anyone can do it!

Comments

  1. Great 101 guide, thanks for sharing!

  2. Another great benefit to online coupons (other than their convenience, flexibility, and ease of use from home) is that they 1. either automatically expire (are removed from the site) 2. are reviewed by others first, and indicate that they are no longer accepted.

  3. The click through is so that they can earn affiliate commission from your purchase :) A “trade” if you will for providing you with the code. It doesn’t make any difference to you (you still pay the exact same) – but its an added benefit for RetailMeNot that I’m sure, enables them to keep the site going!

  4. Great post! I initially became really frustrated when a local grocery store stopped taking Internet coupons, but apparently someone completely scammed the store by copying a bunch of coupons for a free item and using it at different locations. The store has since established a new coupon policy that I think is extremely fair and helps customers save while not breaking the store.

    I also don’t understand these people who make money from coupons. The Extreme Couponing craze is interesting to watch, but is it really fair to other customers for couponers to clear out entire shelves of items so no one else can buy them? Is it fair to the store?

    Snopes.com also has a few fakester coupon emails that have been floating around. I also am looking into why RetailMeNot has removed copy-and-paste promo codes from their site; I have noticed you now have to click through to get the deals, so I wonder if they had to do that.

  5. I agree with you! I think the people that clear the shelves and have those ginormous stockpiles consuming their homes are just clean hoarders, but they still belong on the show Hoarders. It’s gluttonous and selfish and it really makes me angry when I go to the store for an item I regularly buy, happy to have a coupon for it, and the shelf is completely empty. And it stays empty until 2 days after my coupon expires! I’m venting now, sorry! Love your blog btw!!!!

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