How To Spot a Fake Coupon – Must Read

February 12, 2012

So if you are a daily reader here at Budget Savvy Diva – you will notice that I have been posting fake coupon..

I cannot stress enough about where you get your printable coupon information — I know someone who found out about a “fake” ( they did not know at the time)  coupon from another deal site and was caught and fine the $2,500 .

 

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I decided to help y’all know how to spot fake coupons  – because I would hate any of you got in trouble for using fake coupon accidentally.
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How to Make Sure You Are NOT USING A FAKE COUPON
- Know where you are getting the information: Budget Savvy Diva is a great resource -I spent over 10 hours each day finding the best deals and coupons for you – I make sure that all the coupons I post are legitimate :) There are a large amount of bloggers who do not put the amount of work in and you could be paying the price.
The deal is too good to be true: If there is a coupon for a free product for very high value coupon like $3.00 off a bag of chips this is a huge red flag.
- The expiration date: Remember the better the coupon ( High value coupons or coupons that have no size limit) have a shorter time it is good for. So if a printable coupon has more then 6 months till its expiration date – RED FLAG
The coupon is a pdf: PDFs are VERY easy to manipulate — this is another red flag. Again not all PDF coupons are fake but still be wary.
The coupon has no expiration date: Fake coupon can be spotted sometimes without having an expiration date – makes sense the person who made the fake coupon wants to use it as long as possible. THERE are companies that forget or do not put a expiration coupon – but you usually get these sort of coupons from the company themselves.
The coupon did not have a UPC code - HUGE RED FLAG – If there is no UPC it cannot be traced
- Coupon is a Brick Coupon: This one is tricky… A brick coupon is a coupon that is the only one you can print. There are many legitimate brick coupons out there – this is a yellowish flag – just use the tools I have written about in this post to help you determine it is a fake coupon or not
Here is an example for YOU – Lets see if you are able to see how this coupon below is fake
The real coupon was changed into a fake coupon by someone who wanted free products – this is what usually happens with fake coupons.
Hope this helps you be able to target fake coupons – please let me know if you find one at contact@budgetsavvydiva.com

 

Thanks! WalletPop and ABC News

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Wendy Lambert April 21, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Thank you for the tips. :D

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Cheap Sally April 21, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Thanks! It’s scary how many fake coupons can look so real.

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Crystal June 2, 2011 at 1:49 pm

So I’m not really getting this I was looking at my printable coupons and none of the have numbers under the bar code it has the 2 parts and also on some of them when it tells u to mail it to dah dah dah CMS dept. #00000 do all printable coupons have that? Because I print all my coupons from coupons.com but like I said I’m confused. And I always thought that if they only let u print the coupon an X amount of times (usually no more than 2 at a time) that they were ligit. IDK

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KeriAnne July 5, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Thanks for sharing. I think I accidentally used a fake coupon once with out knowing it, and I feel terrible! I love good deals, but not when it is not legitimate!

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CouponingMama July 6, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Thanks for the info! I’m new to couponing and not sure I would know a fake if I see one. I use mostly inserts or print straight from manufacters websites and have had some open in a PDF file. On a recent trip I had 2 like coupons and the store took 1 then said the other had the same barcode so they could not take it.. I didn’t even realize they printed with different barcodes.

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Chrissy Pallante July 15, 2011 at 2:01 am

Wow, what do these people get for passing along fake coupons??? I mean they use them and get free items but why pass them off? Thanks for the info I truly appreciate you and your time. I am trying to save money not spend it for fines or worse JAIL!!!!

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Brynn August 8, 2011 at 1:23 am

Is coupons.com a safe place to go? That is the only place I print my coupons from usually unless I go directly to the companies facebook or website. I just want to make sure that it is worth my time to print coupons from coupons.com because I do use them most of time and don’t want to get caught for using a fake coupon that I didn’t even know was fake. Thank you!

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Sarah S. August 8, 2011 at 9:01 pm

I am wondering if anyone has ever had any problems with the $10 off $50 purchase at Staples from Recyclebank.com. It was a printable coupon. I turned in 60 points to get the coupon last night and when I went to Staples, it crashed 2 of their cash registers. The assistant manager says that she has never gotten one of those coupons to work and it might be a fake. Has anyone else gotten this coupon to work? I have used the coupons that are mailed to me from Recyclebank MANY times and have not had a problem. Apparently, if the coupon is not isssued directly from Staples, it will not work on their registers? I felt really bad that their registers crashed and then I looked like a crook and lost 60 Recyclebank points!

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Melissa February 12, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Let RecycleBank know; their customer service is usually very responsive. They might refund your points, and should look into the coupon issue.

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Crystal August 14, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Hi BSD! I have some of these same questions and am needing an answer. I have some coupons that I have printed out from the manufacturer website, their official facebook page, or couponsdotcom, that only have 2 barcodes. The Rimmel London one I printed only has two barcodes and the Keebler $.70 off Fudge Sticks only has 2 barcodes. There is still the dot-scan barcode on top and other than that, it looks legit. I’m just concerned because I realized I used a few of those without noticing they were any different. Can you please tell me if you think they are real or fake?

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chris August 15, 2011 at 9:05 pm

I noticed on ebay that there is alot of angel soft toilet paper and it is free. I wondered if that was real or not. I just don’t get people paying more for the coupon than the product is worth.

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Erline August 19, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Thanks for the info. I don’t think I’ve ever used a “fake” printable..at least I hope not. I usually do all my printables from coupons.com, redplum, smartsource and couponnetwork. I get a few bricks off and on and sometimes a FB coupon. The only PDF coupons I remember getting were the ones from Scotch Tape a while back (their website had the coupons in PDF form) and from Nexcare (their website provided a popup PDF coupon also).
The only question I have is…if you get a valid coupon in PDF form, can you only print it twice? It allows you to print it as many times as you want…but should/can you? Thanks

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Cindy Hooe October 13, 2011 at 2:21 am

I am like alot of other people here. I’m still confused???? I would like to see a coupon that is real & one that is fake, for the same item & money off. I think that would clear up alot of everyones questions. Also, you said the retailer can trace where the coupon was printed from. How???? I don’t think I have passed a fake cpn. I really hope I have not. Really don’t want to go to jail, trying to save .55!!! I am like alot of the people posting on this also. I only print from the 3 major cpn., sites, manufacter ones & what is offered on fb. Thank you for the article.

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angel October 25, 2011 at 3:26 am

i work in retail lately people have been bringing in fake cigarette coupons so beware!!

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brandi December 29, 2011 at 6:01 pm

I am curious because I have a huge amount of no expiration date coupons that a little old lady had clipped many many years ago. Most of them do not have bar codes but the value of them is also very low. I know they are not fakes but with all this going on do you think the stores will accept them?

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Janne Mae December 31, 2011 at 11:57 pm

I used a fake coupon today! Of course I didn’t know it! I almost want to take the items back but I’m to embarrassed to do that too. I would never take advantage of an already discounted item. I just want the .40-.60 off thats enough for me. People are getting more and more dishonest. I agree with the person who stated why pass them on if you want to cheat then do it but don’t subject us all to dishonesty. I am pissed because a good friend of mine gave me the coupons and did not mention they were fakes. I would like to make my own decision to cheat. I like my freedom and it’s not worth any amount of any coupon!!!!!

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Erline February 12, 2012 at 2:39 pm

@Cindi…if you print a coupon online, your IP address appears under the expiration date (the little #s u can’t read)..that’s how it’s known what computer printed the coupons and your IP address can be traced back to your location.
@Jannie Mae…I’m very sorry your friend passed you on fake coupons, I hope you talk to her and at least find out if she knew they were fake prior to passing them on.
@brandi…please keep me informed on whether the stores take them. I have several “old” coupons that have no expiration date but are valid MQ from years ago when 10c off cans of fruit was a great deal.

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Amber February 21, 2012 at 4:09 am

thanks for the info. I stumbled upon a pdf $3 coupon for ultimate flora to along with the sale that walgreens is having last week but i’m not sure if it’s legit. I posted about it on ur facebook page but i’m not sure you saw it since i put it under a crock pot post. I just want to make sure it’s real before i use it.

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Amber February 21, 2012 at 4:10 am

thanks for the info. I stumbled upon a pdf $3 coupon for ultimate flora to along with the sale that walgreens is having last week but i’m not sure if it’s legit. I posted about it on ur facebook page but i’m not sure you saw it since i put it under a crock pot post. I just want to make sure it’s real before i use it.

sry forgot to put the link in the message

http://www.ultimateflora.com/ultimate-flora-product-couponfb/FDM_300033_facebook_coupon.pdf

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lexi February 24, 2012 at 8:25 pm

This is why I DON’T coupon. Today I got an email from my good friend (who does spend a lot of time following legitimate coupon blogs) for an $8 Huggies coupon. I went to the store, bought one package with the coupon and it worked. I thought, “Huh, ok. I guess it’s good. No worries.” Now I do a little research and find out that it was almost certainly fake and now I’m all freaked out that I’ll be in trouble for using it, even though I didn’t know. I’m not a coupon-clipper, I had no idea. I’m just going to pay full price… at least then I don’t have to feel like an accidental criminal. >:(

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Amanda July 13, 2012 at 12:11 am

From your comment I’m getting that you may have printed this coupon? If so you will almost never find a printable coupon that is “High Value” such as $8/1. Don’t give up on couponing. Just check your sources with a google search. Rule of thumb if you question it at all find the phone number for the company online or on the coupon it’s self and give them a quick ring or simply throw it away. I hope that helps =)

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Vicki March 2, 2012 at 3:21 pm

If you buy coupons off of eBay I promise they are fakes. If it is for a straight up free product with no minimum purchase I promise it is fake. There are so many fake coupons out there for things like pet food, cigarettes, beer, baby formula, and diapers. Companies are getting savvier to the fakes out there because it is simply stealing to them. These fake coupons are going to ruin couponing for everyone. I see the era of coupons ending soon. Too many people abusing it anymore.

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jan March 23, 2012 at 6:26 pm

ok, so last night I got a coupon offer from Bush’s baked beans in my e-mail. I am signed up for their newsletter and it was there newsletter,…anyway, it was for their new sweet mesquite grillin beans…when I printed it (smart source) it said 3.50 off 1 can . It looks like it’s fine , but how can I tell if it is fake? ex. date is 4/20/12 ..looks just like my other smart source coupons..should be worried? I don’t know how much these sale for so I don’t know..could you help me? Never had this happen before… thanks, Jan H.

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Lisa March 24, 2012 at 5:51 pm

so I just got 4 packs of diapers at 8.00 off each. I had no idea this was a fake! I can’t find my receipt – and I’ve used most of one pack. do I have an obligation to bring them back? call the store?

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Amanda August 2, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Wow. This whole thing makes me want to not accept coupons from anyone ever.

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