With coupon usage almost up by 50 percent at Publix, training cashiers to spot fake coupon is the preferred choice rather than to stop accepting coupons that fall under the high risk categories, such as online printable coupons.
"It costs everyone money," says Publix spokesperson Shannon Patten, "I mean, it costs Publix money. It costs our manufacturers money."
Spotting Fake Coupons
Cashiers at Publix are trained to look out for certain industry standards that are not met when accepting coupons such as:
- Coupons that are for more than the actual price of an item.
- Coupons without UPC codes.
- Coupons where a purchase is not required to redeem the coupon.
- Coupons that do not have conditions of usage in small print.
The Importance of Being a Responsible Coupon User
Couponers have more sources than ever for finding coupons to use on a variety of grocery products, medicines, clothing, restaurants and other services. Coupons can be found on product packages, in newspapers, online, with cell phone applications and in magazines.
There are so many legitimate places to find coupons, coupon clippers should simply not use any coupon that looks questionable. Why? Because stores can only absorb so much of the loss that comes with accepting fraudulent coupons. If it becomes too costly and cuts too deeply into profits, the only solution could be to stop accepting certain coupons.
Blowing the Whistle on Fake Coupons
A good source for finding out which fake coupons are being circulated is to check The Coupon Information Corporation (CIG) which keeps an updated list online of counterfeit coupons. It is also a good source for reporting a coupon that you think could be a fake.
You can also report suspected fraudulent coupons to:
- Federal Trade Commission
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Internal Revenue Service
- U.S. Postal Service: US Postal Inspection Service (USPIS)
What you should not do is confront anyone who you feel is involved in distributing fake coupons or running a coupon scam. Let the authorities deal with it - it's safer. But do report coupons you see that look questionable by sending the link to where the coupon is posted online, or any other valuable information you have about where you saw or you received a questionable coupon.
Afraid of Getting Someone in Trouble?
The authorities are looking for the big coupon scammers who make a lot of money, not the people like us who could innocently post a fake coupon link. Most responsible coupon users and those who post coupons online to help others find the good deals would want to know if a coupon was a fake.
It is people like us that can help protect this invaluable way of saving money by being alert and by helping curtail the distribution and use of fake coupons.
- The Slow Come Back of Internet Printable Coupons
- Costly Coupon Scams
- Coupon Book / Coupon Certificate Book Scams