Since I have been running this blog, I have received emails from readers sharing helpful tips and their coupon finds. A couple of times I received emails from readers wanting to share a fabulous coupon they have. Sadly, both times I have had to let the readers know that those coupons are fraudulent. I know it was not the readers intention to promote the use of a fraudulent coupon and that they were actually not aware those coupons were fraudulent.
If you have ever received a coupon via email for a free item, or maybe you are hearing about a coupon that you think is too good to be true, you can visit the Coupon Information Center to verify the authenticity of those coupons. The Coupon Information Center (CIC) is an entity dedicated to fighting coupon fraud and they work closely with manufacturers and retailer to fight coupon misredemption and fraud. They keep a list of coupons that have been identified as fraudulent by the manufacturers and if you are ever in doubt I recommend that you remember this resource and check the list to check the validity of your coupons.
Unfortunately, the process may take some time. So I urge you to use some common sense and follow some of these tips:
- If you received a coupon in pdf or jpg form that you think it’s too good to be true; it most likely is. Coupons for free items that can be printed from your home computer should set off a red flag for you, unless you can verify that the coupon can be found on the manufacturer website.
- If you don’t see your printable coupon listed on the CIC website check Hotcouponworld’s forum “It’s Got to be Real” that also keeps track and identify questionable coupons.
- Always be wary of “buying” FREE item coupons that you know did not come from a newspaper insert on Ebay.
- Always be concerned when a seller has more than one free item coupon on sale and it is selling multiples of it. FREE item coupons are usually mailed directly from the manufacturer to the consumer. They almost always have a watermark or hologram on them to prevent copying and coupon fraud. It is very rare that one person will have multiples of the same free item coupon.
- Always email the seller and confirm with them that the coupon was mailed to them directly from the manufacturer. If they can’t verify this information, don’t buy those coupons, because chances are very good that they are fake.
- If you learn that the coupon you were emailed or have is a fraudulent coupon throw it away immediately. Do not try to use it unless you want to risk public embarrassment. By the time a coupon has been flagged as fraudulent by the CIC, retailers have been informed coupon is fraudulent and won’t get reimbursed for it.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because this morning I read this announcement on HotcouponWorld, about a FREE Charmin fraudulent coupon. Sadly, I checked on Ebay and sellers are trying to sell these coupons and the auctions are going for a lot of money. I would hate for you or someone you know be scammed out of your hard earned money this way.