Couple Busted In Online Coupon Scam

from the but-wait... dept

Fake online coupons are nothing new, but this short AP article about a couple being arrested for selling thousands of dollars worth of fake online coupons has me a bit confused. The woman says she stopped as soon as she found out it was illegal – which raises a bunch of other questions not answered by the article. Was she creating the coupons herself? If so, then she must have known it was illegal. If not, where were they coming from? The article does mention that her husband was charged with “forgery, fraud, theft and other crimes,” so it’s possible that he was creating the fake coupons and giving them to her to sell. Still, you might think she would have asked where they came from. Of course, I also wonder who buys coupons? I always thought coupons were the things you got for free with the Sunday paper.

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Comments on “Couple Busted In Online Coupon Scam”

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AMetamorphosis says:

Coupon Fraud

There are several online websites where for a fee you can purchase a stack of coupons. I always felt these were a scam to begin with. I suppose people think that if they spend 9.95 and get 200.00 worth of coupons it is a good investment.

Our local grocery store stopped taking internet coupons back in Novemeber of last year as a result of fraud. It is very easy to change the amount of the coupon with any basic image editing program and just for fun we tried doing this with coupons for 25 cents to 1.00. The grocery stores took them without any questions. I suppose when the grocery stores were denied payment of these coupons by the manufacturers, that is when they decided to stop taking internet coupons.

I remember finding especially good internet coupons and printing out multiple copies to use in the store. That combined with using a copier supplied me with numerous coupons for items that I normally purchased.

If a manufacturer is putting coupons on the internet in order to entice potential buyers, I really don’t see why they would have a problem with honoring them in the first place.

In order to prevent fraud the best method would be to somehow encode the actual coupon amount into a scanable bar code on the coupon.

Doug says:

Re: Coupon Fraud

In order to prevent fraud the best method would be to somehow encode the actual coupon amount into a scanable bar code on the coupon.

It is encoded there. However, it is also quite simple to replace the barcode.

The ValuPage system uses a different approach. You print out a page with a barcode on it that basically just shows that you’re a ValuPage customer. At the store they scan the barcode along with your purchases. At the end of your order, the total of the coupon discounts is not applied in cash, but instead is printed onto an ordinary coupon that you can use on almost anything on your next visit to the store. I say “almost” because most areas have laws against accepting coupons on certain items: tobacco, alcohol, lottery cards, milk, etc.

The big hook here is the need for the return visit where you have to buy something else. The supermarkets like that, of course. If you’re a regular customer, it’s usually not a big deal.

Oliver Wendell Jones (profile) says:

Who buys coupons?

Go to eBay and search for coupon*. Know what you’ll get?

10326 items found for coupon*

Yes, there are people who make money selling coupons to other people.

My sister made money selling McDonald’s Monopoly game pieces and BestBuy Bucks to people.

If you’re unemployed, retired, handicapped, etc. and have the time to sit at home and cut out coupons for products, what’s wrong with then selling them to people who don’t have the kind of time (or can’t be bothered to take the kind of time) it takes to organize all the coupons?

Melissa LaBonte says:


There are tons of people who exchange coupons. Buying and selling them, from what I understand, is illegal, however, many internet sites offer them in exchange for a handling fee. For more information, go to this site:
It explains everything you could ever want or care to know about coupons.
Hope this helps and clarifies a few things!

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