Think Coupon Fraud Is No Big Deal? Think Again!

UPDATE: So I’ve Deleted your precious picture. Get on with your life and stop harassing people! Don’t know what I am talking about? check out this post

So a funny thing happened yesterday

A good friend of mine sent me an email that had been sent to him by a friend of a friend. This email was a .jpg that had very detailed instructions on how to create an Internet Printable Coupons.  And this person had used the technology to create a coupon that got him a FREE Ps3 (although the scumbag had to pay tax..oh – I just feel SO sorry for him!). I have no intention of posting that .jpg here, because after looking at it, I realized how well it would work…and yeah – no…I’m not perpetuating fraud!

But all of a sudden, I got a newfound respect for grocery stores that stopped accepting Internet Printables with the word “free” on them.

You see – I have always been annoyed with local grocery stores that won’t accept a coupon with the word “Free” on them.  I could understand why they wouldn’t take an IP for FREE item, but one that required the purchase of another item?  That just seemed over-cautious to me. Perhaps I was naive as to the extent of coupon fraud..and the truth is, when we are taking about a BOGO Skinny Water coupon, it bothers me that we receive such scrutiny at the checkout for our valid coupons.  We are doing nothing wrong.  Why should we be treated like we are trying to get something over on our local grocery store?

The answer?  Because so many people are!

The guy who sent this email to my friend’s friend walked out with a $300 item for which the store will never get reimbursed.  That’s a crime – pure and simple.

And it’s easy to say that the store should have been more vigilant.  They should have questioned this coupon.  The “backstory” on this coupon is that the person told the cashier that they had completed a bunch of “free offers” on The Internets and been rewarded with one of these coupons.  We have all seen those free offers on The Internets (“Hey!  Want a Free MacBook?  Just click here!”), so it might be easy to understand why the cashier thought it was a valid coupon.  Yeah – the cashiers should have questioned it, but the coupon scanned correctly

But regardless of cashier error, there is no excusing the fact that somewhere, someone thought this was hunky-dorey to do.  It’s not.

So the next time you get annoyed at your cashier or store manager for over-scrutinizing your Internet Printable coupons, please remember that there ARE serious scumbags out there with no moral compass.  As always, the best advice that I can give you is to never “fly under the radar”.  Make friends with the cashiers and managers at your store so that they know that you are one of the “good ones”.

And as for those that create fake Internet Printable coupons? I believe that means that there is either a special circle in Hell reserved for you…or you will come back as a cashier who had to deal with lowlifes such as you!


    • kathleen says

      The sad part is the cashier probably will. So not only the company suffers so does that cashier. Now she or he has to try to find a new job in this economy. Very sad!

  1. Crystal says

    Wow! I am right there with you on the rage and f bomb thing. It really makes me angry that dishonest people mess it up for the rest of us!

  2. Janet Snyder says

    I really hope someone has reported this guys email address or something to the proper place. He deserves to rot in a gutter somewhere. Ugh. *bashes head against wall*

  3. Cathy @ Chief Family Officer says

    OMG! I think I would report this one to the police or the stores if I actually knew who the person was. Does this person not realize he’s committing a CRIME? Or maybe he’s the same type of person who sneaks money out of a relative or friend’s purse, never pays people back and believes the world owes him a paycheck for doing nothing but breathing air. GRRRR!!!

  4. Liz says

    I have to say, I’d send the information to the police. That’s just so far over the line that it’s absolutely criminal.

  5. Kristy says

    Thank you for posting this, it gives me new perspective. I’m naive…I had no idea that there were people doing such nasty things like that. How does he live with himself? I will be more patient the next time I have a coupon issue!

    • Julie says

      I have to agree with Kristy, it just never crosses my mind that someone would take the time and energy to create soemthing like that! And I too will be more patient.

  6. Jessica says

    I totally agree with you on the first paragraph because, I’ve said the F-Word like 5 times reading this! This is a serious matter, Its like this guy walked in to 5 different stores and robbed them, maybe not the usually way we think of a robbery, but he practically stole $1,500 worth of merchandise for these stores. It makes me sick at my stomach!
    He needs to be made an example for other people who are doing this or thinking about doing it!

  7. Cathie says

    This is crazy. I can’t believe someone even has the technology to make something scan-able! I’ve never been hassled about an IP before, just for the coupons that are worth more than the product. :)

  8. Lisa E says

    WOW I couldn’t have said it better myself. Although, it took me about 10 minutes to talk Landis into my “FREE” excedrin coupon that excedrin sent me. I even saved the letter and she was still hesitant to take the coupon, I gave her the letter and all, she still felt like I printed it off the internet. Although it wasn’t on their “fraud” coupon list they have in the back. But I told her I did understand. And they did take the coupon, I just wish the companies would send coupons with the haligrams on them like the drano coupon I received from Drano. I too hope this guy was turned in. Wow what some people won’t do, this is why they are so careful about taking coupons. I too feel their is Karma that will turn around and get him where it counts!

  9. Jan says

    Excellent post, and I agree, karma will get this guy, if someone hasn’t already reported him. (Which I hope they have.) And as someone who did get a free PS3 (for my brother) off one of those legit “free offer” sites, I can say that they don’t send you a coupon … they either send the actual item, a store gift card in the appropriate amount, or Paypal you the cash equivalent–all things that are more fraud-resistant.

  10. Heather says

    A FB friend of mine, posted a website that explains how you can make your own coupons and how “great” it is to be able to walk into a store and get stuff for free when ‘the schmucks’ have to pay. I wish I had saved the URL at the time because I can’t recall where I saw it anymore. If I find it, I’ll pass it onto you. I agree with some of the other posters, this guy needs to be turned into the authorities and prosecuted. People like him/her are why I have such a hard time using coupons.

  11. Sarah says

    I’m going to go ahead and assume the obnoxious posts above will be deleted and just ignore them… besides, I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person.

    Anyway, I’m sure TRU has security cameras, and should be able to at least provide the authorities with footage of the person at the checkout counter. I’d bet he/she was standing there for a bit while they tried to figure out if the coupon was valid. Do we know if the TRU on that receipt is even aware of this yet? It looks like the date on the receipt is only 3/11.

    Bottom line is that this is stealing– walking out with merchandise that was not paid for… might as well have stuffed the PS3 under their coat and walked out.

  12. Karen says

    Wow, people are so seedy. I used to work as a cashier AND a customer service clerk having to deal with the crazy coupon ladies, and now I am one! So I can fully understand being cautious with the coupons accepted. You cannot BELIEVE the crap some shady people try to pull. Every day was an adventure, lol, but since I still shop at the same stores I used to work at, they give me no problems :)

  13. Mary Kate says

    There are so many ways to get good deals by taking the time and energy to work within the system I do not understand why people feel the need to cheat. I guess it is a lack of a moral compass or a feeling of entitlement. People like the Ps3 thief are making life harder for those that are honest, but I doubt they care about that. I would rather live with/on nothing than be dishonest. Thank you Mindi for your high moral standards.

  14. Cody says

    Whoever took this “internet printable” and allowed it to happen, deserves to be fired. If I slept through my job and just did as people told me to, I would get fired. The person who let it happen should at least have to pay for it. That way it would never happen again.

    ATTN: Original Poster of this message : Don’t rage, its not worth it. Temporary problems are just that. The system will work itself out, just give it time.

    “QUOTE- We have all seen those free offers on The Internets (“Hey! Want a Free MacBook? Just click here!”),-/QUOTE” Tell your readers THESE ARE ALL FAKES. There is NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING on the internet designed to save you money. The design isnt to save you money with coupons, its to trick you into buying a branded item at a slightly lower cost, and to trick you into wanting to buy them, using printed pictures of their products with the word “Discount” on them. Look on the bottom shelf next time to find the already discounted items in your store, usually from same manufacturing plant too.

  15. MissyLiz says

    Great post Mindy! I absolutely hate hate hate the people that try to ruin it for the rest of us. Pretty much no stores will take internet free coupons anymore and this is exactly why. I’ve been having probs trying to redeem my free digornio one because even though it was mailed, it looks like an IP. I am a retail manager and have to deal with this stuff everyday. The fraud that some people try to commit drives me nuts. I have one customer who every week attempts to use multiple coupons (usually all expired) on the same item and then when I don’t let her use them, creates a scene making the rest of my customers think that I’m like some kind of coupon nazi.

  16. Marcy says

    That is just blatant robbery. I appreciate you posting this because it certainly gives us perspective and patience when using IPs. He is a crook. He will get his.

  17. Jenn says

    Thanks for writing this. It certainly explains the reasoning behind the local grocery store not taking my IP for free items.
    The guy who did this needs to be prosecuted. What a total jerk.

  18. fairydust says

    I admit to being pretty naive about creating fake IQs (and I’m absolutely NOT advocating it at all!), but I had spoken with a grocery cust svc rep one time who assured me that a fraudulent coupon would not scan, so if a coupon scans, she said that meant it was okay. So… how could this Free PS3 coupon actually scan? That would make me even more nervous as a check-out clerk! I would think that not only scrutinizing the coupon is in order but the computer should back you up on not letting through something that may look correct but isn’t.

  19. Kim says

    Thanks for posting this, Mindy. I am a cashier at a local grocery store and I will certainly keep a suspicious eye out for the free coupons. AWFUL!

  20. Jolon says

    If this wasn’t SO horrible (the entire situation including them harassing you) I’d almost want to laugh, because seriously you can tell a story 😉

    But the bottom line is, it’s disgusting that people try and get away things like this!! Even “bending the rules” slightly to use a invalid (for whatever reason) coupon! Not cool.

  21. Sarah says

    I am in shock! I cannot believe how low some slimy people will stoop! If they are still lurking around here and following these posts – I hope YOU CRIMINALS GO TO JAIL!

  22. Kim T. says

    I was accused of this at Walmart with a $3.00 coupon I received from Chef Request. I was mortified. I wouldn’t know how to make a counterfeit coupon nor would I want to. There is always a few who make it tougher on others. I hope he gets caught and prosecuted along with all the others. I don’t want these jack— to ruin couponing for the rest of us.

  23. gina says

    wow, just finally read this. Now I understand why they dont take the ip freebies. Not that I ever give them a hard time, if a cashier ever says I dont want to get written up – I just simply would never put someone in that position. As a matter of fact every time one of these are given away on FB and other areas like Juicy rewards I call the company directly and explain that stores simply will not take them and if the companies plan is to promote they should do it another way. But this guy i mean come on … why the F would you do this ??? your punishing us, the ones that sit at their kitchen table pouring over coupon books and sales flyers and the internet to help keep our families a float!
    can you say JERK!
    This is why I always have to walk away feeling like a criminal, when being declined a perfectly good and legal deal because someone is in fear of loosing their job — and really, who could blame them–people like that ruin it for all of us!

  24. Nicole S says

    This upsets me for the obvious reasons ( I don’t want him ruining it for the rest of us!), but for another reason. Some people don’t seem to understand or care that this is STEALING. Whether it’s 50 cents or $300, if you use a coupon that you KNOW is not real, you are literally stealing from the store.

    I just don’t understand why people don’t have any morals.

    And to be quite frank, if you used valid coupons you could save enough money in 1-2 months to BUY a friggin PS3!

    This just makes me sick. The mentality of these kind of idiots is beyond me.

    And Thank You, Mindi, for not deleting this post. People NEED to see this.

  25. says

    My husband manages a Save-a-lot supermarket here in tulsa. When one of his cashiers takes a coupon or gives wrong change , it is the cashiers job to reimburse the store. That’s his policy. Someone pays for the mistake of a fraudulent person. One of his cashiers was an 18 yr old girl, preoccupied w/ life, took a 10$ bill yet gave cash back for a 100. Same thing w/ coupons. Someone pays ~