Counterfeit Coupons

Counterfeiting occurs when coupon are copied and then sent back to the manufacturer for reimbursement. The manufacturer pays for phony coupons. Newspaper-generated black-and-white coupons are the easiest to counterfeit. Color copiers, however, have made other forms of counterfeiting easier. The major source of counterfeiting is the Internet. High-quality printer techology makes it possible for people to create bogus coupons and then sell or distribute them via the internet. In this case, the counterfeit coupons are sold in bulk and they often are for inflated discounts or even free merchandise.

With food prices soaring, more and more people are looking for savings at the supermarket. But beware -- there's also been a surge in coupon counterfeiting.

One fake coupon can cost retailers and manufacturers hundreds of thousands, even millions, of dollars. And that can rob savvy shoppers of precious time and money, leaving them fuming and frustrated.

For busy mom Theresa Jenkins it takes 20 minutes at the computer and a couple clicks of her mouse to save hundreds of dollars on groceries every week. Her two-cart grocery run for the family would normally cost $400. But with coupons, it's just $100.

Fear of counterfeits sometimes causes stores to reject Internet coupons altogether. Each store
sets its own policy about coupons, and the policy can vary even within chains.( Elisabeth Leamy and Vanessa Weber, July 9, 2008)

Counterfeit Coupons Offer No Savings

If you are a coupon clipper, you may want to think twice when it comes to downloading coupons from the Internet. Homemade counterfeit coupons are circulating at an alarming rate on the Internet, according to The Coupon Information Center (CIC), a not-for-profit association of consumer product manufacturers. Dedicated to fighting coupon misredemption and fraud, CIC notes that retailers and manufacturers aren't the only victims of coupon counterfeiting; innocent consumers who purchase or download counterfeit coupons can also be victimized.
Many retailers receive piles of coupons every day and get money back from manufacturers when people redeem them. But many stores have stopped honoring coupons printed off the Internet because they are tough to identify.

Perpetrators have found their way around safeguards put in place to prevent counterfeiting. Scam artists often copy legitimate coupons from the Internet and change expiration dates, product names or the amount of the discount. Sometimes coupons that are printed in circulars are scanned or photocopied. The fake coupons are then distributed through e-mail, Internet discussion groups and online auction sites. Some counterfeiters sell or trade them.
Most counterfeit coupons cover a wide variety of brands and involve mostly "free" product offers. Those that offer cents off can range from 50 cents to as high as $11.99.

By helping to uphold the integrity of coupons, consumers can help to keep coupons available to everyone. Consumers who want to know if a computer-generated coupon is legitimate can contact the manufacturer or retailer. Or, contact CIC for a list of "free product" counterfeit coupons. Call 703.684.5307 or visit the CIC web site at
Circulating counterfeit coupons is a criminal offense that can be prosecuted by federal, state or local law enforcement, according to CIC. Don't risk costly penalties to save a few cents! (BBB Jan 15, 2003)

Risks of purchasing counterfeit tickets

Counterfeiting of documents, including tickets, is the fastest growing crime in the U.S. It is a fact that most people don’t realize how many tickets are counterfeited in their way of lives. People don’t worry about having counterfeit tickets without recognizing how dangerousness of counterfeiting is.
Here is couple of risks that consumers will be faced with purchasing counterfeited tickets.
1. Once you pay for tickets purchased online, you have no way of knowing if they will ever show up.
2. Your tickets may be rotten, including obstructed view seats, seats that aren't together, or otherwise not what you thought they were.
3. You don't know if the tickets you are purchasing at an online exchange or from a scalper or unauthorized ticket broker are real or not. Your tickets may be counterfeit. You'll show up at the game, sometimes at considerable time and expense, and be turned away. (Ray Waddell, Jan 24 2000)


Tips for preventing to buy unauthorized tickets

1. Only the event, the venue and the event’s authorized ticketing company can guarantee the ticket you purchase online will be valid to attend the event.
2. When buying from a merchant, always look for the seal. The logo will tell you that you’re dealing with a company that has a good reputation for satisfying customers and a secure Web site for processing your payment.
3. When buying from an individual through an online exchange don’t be lured away from the Web site by the seller. Even if you met the seller on the exchange Web site, the company may not guarantee any lost money if a transaction occurs outside their domain.
4. If you buy tickets through an online auction, choose a seller with a long, continuous history of satisfied customers. Scammers can hijack old accounts, so make sure they have recently bought or sold other items.
5. Pay with a credit card or through PayPal, which offer some protection and potential reimbursement. Never pay with cashier’s check or wire money to a seller; you’ll have no way to get your money back if the tickets do not arrive.
6. Many sellers will include pictures of the tickets with their posts on auction sites or bulletin boards. Scalpers near the venue will have the tickets themselves. Scrutinize the tickets closely for any inaccuracies or alterations, and cross-check the seat assignment with the map on the venue’s Web site before you buy. (Judy Hedding)


1. Elisabeth Leamy and Vanessa Weber: July 9, 2008; Consumer Alert: Counterfeit Coupons, Elisabeth Leamy and Vanessa Weber, July 9, 2008, Retrieved Mar 15, 2011, from:
2. BBB Jan 15, 2003: Counterfeit Coupons Offer No Savings; BBB Jan 15, 2003, Retrieved Mar 15, 2011, from:
3. Ray Waddell, Jan 24 2000: Counterfeit Tickets Growing Problem; Ray Waddell, Jan 24 2000, Retrieved Mar 15, 2011, from:
4. Judy Hedding: Warning About Unauthorized Tickets, Retrieved Mar 15, 2011, from: