|Coupons seized in the bust|
How to tell if your coupon is a fake? Well, I first discussed coupon fraud way back in 2010 when I first started MyCNYMommy. You can read that post here:
For a printable coupon, here are the basics that stores use to determine if they are "fake".
To put this into lay person terms:
- The unique 2-D barcode on the upper left is a different number for every coupon you print, even for a second print of the same coupon.
- The dotted line around the entire coupon is really text. It has your user id, the date and time and coupon offer information printed - repeating at least 35 times around the coupon. This is also printed at the bottom of the expiration date box.
- The long barcode at the bottom also has a portion of the unique 2-D barcode number in it. These barcodes are much more specific and very soon will be the barcode that is scanned in all stores!
- For some coupons (mainly coupon.com powered coupons) - there are yellow circles (for color printed) and gray circles (for black & white/gray scale printed). This along with a verifi #, indicate the coupon is valid.
Other tips to tell if non-printables are fake:
*Generally coupons from manufacturer's come with an official seal on them, especially if they have been given out in masses like through a facebook offer.
* You can always call a company's customer service number and ask if the coupon you have is fake.
*If you received a free offer coupon direct from the manufacturer for a problem you had with one of their products (or a compliment!) you can bring along the accompanying letter to show the store when you use the coupons.
*Check to see if your coupon is listed on the list of Fraudulent Coupons put out by the Coupon Information Center. The list is updated every time a fraudulent coupon is discovered.
*And, if a coupon's value is extremely high - most likely it IS too good to be true.
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