I received an email from a reader sharing some fraudulent PDF coupons that she received in her inbox, and wanted to share a quick reminder of a few tips on how to stay away from fraudulent coupons. (Remember, they really do hurt all of us as couponers!)
- If a coupon looks way too good to be true, it probably is. Now don't get me wrong, there are loads of fabulous, simply amazing legitimate coupons out there (anyone remember the $5 off Schick coupons?) However, they are few and far between, and rarely are at or above the retail price of an item.
- If a coupon comes to you as a PDF file, be cautious of it's source. Some manufacturers choose to promote their products using PDF coupons, however most manufacturers use some form of a coupon printing program (i.e. the one that loads when you print coupons from Coupons.com), to limit the number of coupons each person can print. This does not mean that all PDF coupons are fraudulent, however make sure to print it from a reputable site (and probably not from an email sent to you that's been passed around the neighborhood!) 🙂
- A coupon is not legitimate just because it scans at the cash register. As crazy as it seems, very smart people waste their time figuring out how to make bar codes that do scan at the register for the listed discount. Again, this doesn't make that coupon legitimate, so just because it works does not make it okay!
- Don't copy printable coupons. Ever. No matter how great the temptation is, do not copy a printable coupon. Manufacturers determine a certain number of allowed prints for each coupon (usually two) allowed to each IP address. Each coupon that you print from a program like the one used on Coupons.com has a unique code in the top right hand corner, and the manufacturer reserves the right not to reimburse payment to a store on a coupon if that code has been duplicated. So, copied printable coupons are essentially a form of stealing. . . please (please!) don't do it! (However, it is okay to ask for a friend or family member to print you an extra coupon or two on their computer!)
- Use reputable coupon sites to print coupons from. Myself and literally hundreds of other penny-pinching bloggers work really hard to share legitimate deals, however there are sites out there that encourage unethical usage of coupons. Use good judgement as you determine which sites to follow for coupon information, and if something just feels wrong to use, skip on past that deal.
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