Wed, Aug 10, 2016 – by Jennifer Frye

What You Need to Do to Avoid & Report Coupon Fraud

What You Need to Do to Avoid & Report Coupon Fraud 1

We know that you love your coupons (we do too) as saving money is a bonus (who does not want to save more money annually?). As sales, coupons, and discounts are easier to search, print, download to store loyalty cards, and more, it is not uncommon to find ways to get the items you want at reducing costs. However, just as it has become more available to find coupons such as in the newspapers, manufactures social media pages, and sites such as, there are rules to couponing that you must follow to avoid becoming reported for coupon fraud to the Coupon Information Corporation (CIC).

Here are several tips to keep in mind while you search and use coupons.

Prohibited Coupon Activities

  1. Do not buy coupons. Coupon buyers and sellers can find themselves in violation of the “nontransferablity” clause that is on all coupons distributed within the United States. Always follow the legal language that the manufacturer states on the actual coupon. Each manufacturer has its legal requirements for usage, and the retailers set their acceptance policies. 
  2. Do not photocopy coupons. It is an act of counterfeiting, a criminal offense.
  3. Stealing newspapers. People subscribe to newspapers. It is for personal use. Do not take someone’s newspaper. It can result in felony charges.

Read the list of other prohibited coupon activities.

What is Coupon Fraud and How to Avoid It?

Coupon fraud is the intentional use of a coupon for a product that the consumer has not purchased or otherwise fails to satisfy the terms and conditions for redemption. Also, when a retailer submits coupons for products they have not sold or that were not properly redeemed by a consumer in connection with a retail purchase; or when coupons are altered/counterfeited.

If you have to pay for a coupon or perform any illegal acts to receive or use coupons, then it is likely that you are involved in a coupon scam. Report individuals in the scam by keeping all of your records or anything associated with the fraud to the CIC.

Also, contact one of the following law enforcement agencies:

Remember to be mindful of your coupon usage and how coupon fraud affects all consumers and manufacturers. Couponing is a great way to save if done appropriately. Only use coupons obtained from authorized coupon distributors.

For more excellent coupon tips, check out these articles:

While you are here, print or load the featured coupons below to a store loyalty program.


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