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Is that Coupon for Real?!

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Have you ever come across an awesome coupon and wondered if it was too good to be true? Well, I have the solution for you!

If you are a new Hip2Save reader or new to couponing, you may not be aware of a great organization called the Coupon Information Corporation. The Coupon Information Corporation (CIC) is a not-for-profit association dedicated to fighting coupon misredemption and fraud. The CIC has an entire page of counterfeit coupons with attached pictures and information about each fraudulent coupon. If you have any questions or concerns about a specific coupon or coupon scam, you can contact the CIC by clicking here.

Have any of you had any issues with fraudulent coupons or coupon scams? Let us know!

Join The Discussion

Comments 91

  1. Heather W

    Is that Degree coupon the one we had? I hope not!!

  2. Ashley

    I stick to the ones we can trust like coupons.com, Redplum.com, Smartsource.. etc.. Or directly from their site. I would never want to be seen with a fake coupon! Thanks for sharing.

  3. amiah

    You are so awesome! You amaze me hourly lol! Thanks for the info!

  4. Becca

    My mom emailed me a coupon for $8 off perdue recently that was forwarded to her. I was able to tell immediately that it was fake. If its too good to be true, it probably is. Once you coupon long enough you can usually tell!

  5. Rhonda W.

    tHANK YOU cOLLIN!!!!

  6. Michelle

    Great info!

  7. Monica

    Thanks for posting! I was aware of fradulant coupons but never imagined a list so long! Holy cow! I’m glad there is a site dedicated to catching the creators of such coupons so that hopefully it will not affect us legitimite couponers!

  8. Monica

    Thanks for posting! I was aware of fradulant coupons but never imagined a list so long! Holy cow! I’m glad there is a site dedicated to catching the creators of such coupons so that hopefully it will not affect us legitimite couponers!

    • Monica

      Not sure why it posted twice. Sorry! 🙂

  9. Anonymous

    the fresh express 1.50 coupons never scan for me and it’s pdf
    but it’s on their website so it should be fake right?

    • Anon

      Don’t you mean “not”??

  10. doubledj

    I am so naive, I had no idea there were fake coupons out there! Thanks for keeping us informed 🙂

  11. Betsy

    I hate that people counterfeit coupons, that’s why we all get trouble in stores from the cashiers when we are trying to use legit coupons…they assume we’re all scammers like these few people.

  12. Tracy

    why to people make counterfeit coupons. This is why its so hard to use internet printed coupons at stores. I would be ashamed of myself to make a fake one. Some people are just too greedy in life. Thanks for the website.

  13. Noel

    wow! that is a long list. kinda scary

  14. Anon

    I purchased a set of coupons from ebay that were fraudulent. Granted, there was only 1 seller selling them and I should have known that $3 off of 4 12-packs of Pepsi/Mt. Dew products were too good to be true, but I fell for them. Thankfully I found out they were fraudulent by way of contacting Pepsi and I didn’t use any of them. I sent all coupons on to the CIC so this person, who scammed Pepsi out of THOUSANDS of dollars (judging by the shear volume of the coupons sold) can/will be caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent. It’s just sad that some people resort to producing counterfeit coupons. It makes it that much harder for us legit coupon users to do what we do.

    • cjs

      I came across a blurb on the Purina site about some fraudulent Fancy Feast coupons that were being sold on e-bay, too. It was for something like a ‘free 24pk’. I, personally, don’t buy coupons on e-bay – but I do purchase ‘services’ of a coupon clipping service. The service has only sent me legitimate coupons from inserts so far, and they are really nice people.

    • Barbara

      They aren’t scamming Pepsi out of any money because the company won’t reimburse them. They are actually scamming stores out of money 🙁

      • erin w

        that’s why you see some cashiers get all fiesty about scanning your coupons. some of these people are cashiers and/or stores that have been burned before by fraudulent coupons that they will not be reimbursed for. it’s a shame, but it happens. I’ve notice that once you’ve been in a store a few times with a million coupons then the cashiers start to recognize you and most will unclench.

  15. Amber

    Some of those coupons {look} legit – like the $1.50 / Pop Tarts coupon – that looked like a real SmartSource coupon. That’s scary that people are able to make them so well – it makes it hard for cashiers to spot fake ones and stores more likely to stop accepting them. I sure love all the high value IP Qs out there, I would be so sad to see them go!

    • Susan

      I agree the $1.50 off poptarts I would have definately used because we do get high value coupons like that sometimes. However a $4 or $5 off is obvious. Scary that some look so good!

    • Ashley

      It would have come to us in PDF form though and we as avid coupon users SHOULD know that the smartsource label only exists when printed directly from there. It’s the PDF format that everyone should be careful of!

    • A.Marie

      I thought the same thing about the Poptart coupon…it says smartsource on it and everything! I hope I didn’t redeem one of those!

  16. Angie

    Wow, what a great resource! I have had coupons refused from the commissary and Walmart because they said they did not scan right and they must be frauds. I get all my coupons from Coupons.com, SmartSource, RedPlum or your site so I know they must be real, but it is nice to check and see what might be floating around fraudulent. My friend told me about about a scanning app I can get for my phone to check the coupons before I leave the house to make sure they will work, but I haven’t tried it yet. Thanks for all your great tips and resources!

  17. Mary

    About a year ago my co-workers were passing around the velvetta and aluminum foil ones. I knew something was wrong with them! They were making copies and everything. When I told them that was illegal they got mad. I don’t share any coupons with them cause I am afraid they are going to copy them! Thanks for this site Collin!

    • Anna

      I got that sent to me too last year!

  18. debra

    I just got in my email today about a snikiddy coupon that has been going around that is apparently fraud, and they sent me a $1 off coupon instead.

    • Rachel

      I received that email too. That was strange…the link was to their site.

      • supersaversarah

        As far as the Snikiddy one goes, that was a real coupon, but it was only intended for people that gave product feedback. When a coupon like that gets more widely circulated the company cries foul and “fraud”. The same thing happened to Colgate when the coupon they intended only for Aetna members made the rounds. Companies that are smart use Bricks software or other trackable software to control printing. I don’t even bother to print the free product coupons because no one in my area will take them.

        • Jess @ This Frugal Life

          I agree, they really need to be using Bricks software (or coupons.com) if they are going to be issuing a printable coupon. Coming from a marketing/accounting background, it always bothers me when I see companies not use Bricks. Clearly some manufacturers don’t weigh all the possible options and outcomes before releasing printable coupons to the public. It probably costs more to list a coupon through Bricks which is why many do not use them, but what happens if it goes viral on all of the blogs? Surely it costs them more in the end.

    • Stephanie

      I got that too.

      • Tiphanie

        got it too

        • Amanda

          I recieved it too!

    • Jill Taylor

      I got it, too. I was going to email Collin and let her know that she gave out a fraudulent coupon/offer, but it doesn’t matter.

  19. Dawn

    I hardly ever see a high value, let alone free coupon, so when the Borden cheese coupon came out I was skeptical but because that coupon was from their site I felt okay to use it. Any coupon that practically takes off the entire amount off of a product probably is fake like the diaper coupons. Once you have been couponing, it does get easier to know which are real and fake.

  20. Ruth

    I haven’t received any, but I have been in stores that didn’t want to take coupons that I have printed off the internet. Wal Mart wouldn’t take a coupon for $1.50 off Kellog’s mini-wheats until I convinced the manager that it was a good one. And today Target didn’t want to take a coupon because it wouldn’t scan. I asked her to type in the numbers and it worked. She said it didn’t work to type in the numbers, but she was wrong. Any advice on this. Wal Mart was skeptical because of encountering fradulent coupons from others.

    • Jasmine@DEALicious Finds

      The best thing you can do is print off their policies on coupons. I keep a copy in my binder, and luckily have not had to use it yet, but I feel better having it. Also, at Walmart I always use a self-check out. That’s the best cashier you could ever have!

  21. Kate

    wow…I had no idea that fradulant coupons could look so real. Now I guess I understand better why some cashiers seem so reluctant to take the internet coupons. Thanks for the pointers. I want to keep legit!

  22. Sheila

    I’m confused on one – the one that is listed as unilever reward. It’s a $2.00 coupon for Dove Deodorant. It has the Dove website printed right on it. I do remember going to the Dove website and printing a coupon from there. Anybody have any clue on why this is counterfeit??

    • Bailey

      This one is $2/1, whereas one directly from the web site was $1.25/1 or $3/2.

    • megan

      There was one back in September that was legit. A $2/1 Dove deo q…

  23. Janna

    The Sunbelt granola bars pdf coupon a few months back was fraudulent according to the grocery store manager at the store I tried to use it at…I felt like a criminal! She said they had already received them back as fraudulent.

    • Felicia

      I used that one with no problems, wow, now I feel like a criminal too. I had no idea it was fake.

    • Me

      No…my scanned perfectly and went through just fine at Super Kmart….the granola sunbelt one your talking about..

      • Suzanne

        I really hope that one was legit b/c I used 8 of them at Kroger and I really don’t want to burn a store!

  24. Rachel

    They even have a most wanted list… That is crazy. thanks for sharing I think we will all be more careful of where we get our coupons.

  25. Lynn

    WOW What an eye opener. I’ve been a little leary to try the recent Bordon Cheese free PDF coupon because of things like that. I beleive it was a legitimate offer but I won’t be surprized if the stores rejecct it

    • Bailey

      I didn’t even try to print this coupon as none of the grocery stores take FREE internet coupons anymore. They don’t even accept the free 200 calorie DiGiorno pizza coupon that I’ve received in the mail.

      • NATALIE

        I had that problem with the Digiorno one too. My store doesn’t take internet printables for “free” items. My store wouldn’t even take my Oreo cookie coupon that was mailed through the mail from facebook because it looked like an internet printable. Boo to the scammers out there. They ruin it for the rest of us!

        • Pamela

          what store wouldn’t accept them?

      • Jess @ This Frugal Life

        I was worried about that happening at my store as well so I brought the letter with me (after I cut the coupon out) just in case. Even the letter didn’t have a DiGiorno logo which was weird. It was legit though, came from coupons.com.

      • Suzanne

        My store has the same policy. When I get a free coupon in the mail, I leave it attached to the entire letter and show them that I got it in the mail, from the manufacturer, not off of the internet. They have always accepted it then.

  26. Boonie

    I had printed a Q and went to use it at Albs and they wouldn’t take it saying it was a counterfeit, it didn’t have the small barcod under the exp. date on top, the bottom ones were there so now I only print one and check making sure it is there before I print the second…It was on a frozen dinner but can’t remember what site I printed it from…I don’t understand who gains from these anyway…

  27. Valerie

    sheesh… it’s so sad to see how ballsy and greedy some people can be. you can get so many products for free or cheap by couponing legitimately; there’s totally no reason for this. even though a lot of those free ones looked super duper fake, the product price was filled in which means they were probably accepted! how scary!

  28. alyssa

    Would you as a customer get in trouble for trying to use a fraud coupon if you had no idea it was fake?

    • doubledj

      That’s what I was wondering!!

    • Rachel

      you should not get in trouble… it would cost them WAY too much money to find the evidence and convict you… not worth their time. They want the big boys the ones making the counterfit coupons.

  29. Amanda H.

    I’m new to this, but after looking at hundreds from clipping, I can tell some of the pics on the fakes seem distorted. Also, did anyone look through the general list that is published? There was a fake coupon for a Nintendo Wii BOGO? I find that really funny. At some point, I think common sense would play a roll as well.

    • Jess @ This Frugal Life

      I noticed that one as well. I mean, really?!? C’mon, use your head on that one.

  30. A.Marie

    I am leery of using the Smartsource coupons now, because the Poptart coupon and the coke coupons had the smartsource logo right on them. My grocery store gals told me that Smartsource coupons are the ones that they are having the most trouble with. I am almost POSITIVE that I printed and used a $1.50 off Poptart coupon. Since I only use coupons.com, smartsource and redplum, I am trying to figure out where I would have gotten it from. The only thing I can figure out is that I would have found it on a site somewhere. Now I feel really bad!

    But, when I asked the manager of my store if I could get into trouble if I unknowingly passed a bad coupon, she said no. Thank Goodness!

    • megan

      I almost never use SS anymore either. They always look fake to me…

      • Joy

        Legit SmartSource coupons now have a watermark on them to help prevent fraud.

  31. DD

    this also included coupons that you buy on ebay, because coupons can not be technically sold. bummer. oh well i’ll just keep complaining to red plum that they need to put their coupons back into the newspapers.

    • Mo Keaton

      If you read the listing for the coupons on ebay, most sellers clearly state that the coupons are free, and you are just paying for their time, clipping, sorting, and mailing. If I do buy from ebay, I only buy the inserts man q’s, not internet printed ones.

      • Tresa Beardslee

        good idea!

  32. Amanda

    I agree with many pp. This is why stores have promblems with coupons. It is not the money issues b/c with legit coupons they get the money back plus some usually. But when you use multiple coupon and match them they begin to believe it is to good to be true espeically when you walk out of the store with multiple bags for less than $20.00! It is sad that a couple of people ruin it for all. Shame Shame! Just remember what goes around comes around.

  33. Mindy

    I’m not sure if anyone remembers the coupon from facebook a while back where you had to log in to get a BOGO dozen eggs from the Good Egg Project. It took me forever to receive the link in my email and now there isn’t a single place that would take it. Every place said that unless it clearly states “Manufacturer Coupon” they won’t accept it. Bummer, I only have a dozen of eggs left in the fridge too, lol. Oh well, I’ll check to see if my Target has any eggs for 99cents as advertised. Still cheaper than Costco, which is ~7.50 / 5doz!!!

    • Elizabeth

      You might want to check the price of eggs at your Walgreens as mine always has a dozen for 1.00. Its one of a few lower priced items to draw customers back into the store. I live in Texas. Good luck

    • kayk

      I used my bogo at my target tonight!

    • Boonie

      I was able to use my BOGO eggs at Walmart with no problems,I don’t think this was a counterfeit…was it?

      • fairydust

        I’ve used one of the BOGO egg coupons from that facebook promo with no problem. I’m looking at the other one and it has all the right bar codes in the right places, it says it can be verified at some coupon verification website, it has a name and address for the store to submit for reimbursement. And as I recall, I printed both of the coupons out via Bricks once I finally got the fb page’s link to work. If it’s a fake, it’s a very very good one!

  34. topchief2

    While a lot of things on that site are legit, take it with a grain of salt. You will see a lot of things on there that state that it was a legitimate coupon that the company no longer felt like redeeming, so now they label it as counterfeit, and that’s pretty shady to me.

    • Denise

      Yeah, but withdrawn due to widespread counterfeiting … who can blame them?

  35. Laurie

    I just used the DiGiorgno one today with no problem, and the Helluva Good one. Haven’t tried the Borden one.

  36. Pamela

    WOW! Never knew there was a site for this….can’t believe people sit around and make up fake coupons!
    Thanks for the info!

  37. Jenn

    I remember the $1 off Coke that went around last year (with unlimited prints!). It seemed shady to me, and I waited to redeem mine, and then it came out that they were frauds. I entered the numbers into Veri-fi.com, and–sure enough–expiration dates didn’t match. Sure glad I never used them anywhere!

    • Barbara

      Me too! I never used mine either and I feel better about throwing them away.

    • Carrie

      What is verify.com?

      • Jenn

        The website is http://www.veri-fi.com (or http://www.couponsinc.com/crc/index.asp), and you can check the barcodes for your coupons.com-style coupons. It will tell you if the barcode is valid or not. In the case of the Coke coupons, someone had used valid barcodes in creating the fraudulent coupons, but they were from several years before (I don’t exactly know how they did it). So, it told me the expiration date was a couple years before I’d even printed it.

  38. Jessica

    No wonder the cashiers are freaked out to take our coupons! Wow! I can’t believe it! Can you believe a coupon for $9.50 off Hanes!!!!!

  39. Jess @ This Frugal Life

    Wow….. this was really informative! Who the heck makes a coupon for $9.50 off Heineken?!? First of all, what a random number for a coupon value. Second, REALLY!!???

    Thanks, Collin, I’m sharing this with my readers!

  40. Anonymous

    Is it selling coupons illegal? How about buying coupons?

  41. Anonymous

    There are many bloggers tell readers to buy “real” coupons from Ebay. But it’s illegal !
    Many blogger just copy Collin’s articles and ideas to post in their blogs. I just hope Collin can write an article about not to sell or buy coupons from others.

  42. Mindy

    So, I just came back from my not so lovely trip to Target and no luck w/the BOGO doz.egg or Heluva Good coupons. Picked up some stuff & I got 3 J&J soap buddies but had to negotiate w/the cashier who took 3 coupons but credited only 2. When I asked why, she said that she was only supposed to accept 1 but she was nice to run 2 through and didn’t even credit me for my reusable bag after telling me, “Now you put these in your bag” as she handed me my purchases. I was thinking ok, so this doesn’t seem right because I should get 1 of my coupons back since I technically paid for 1 soap. Ended up asking for a refund afterwards at Guest Services and my $0.05 for my reusable bag…arg…..plus no J&J catalina printed so I guess my Target doesn’t have that promotion or something.

  43. Rainey Randall

    I actually got an email from Snikiddy today regarding one. Strange because on their own site it says sign up get a coupon. I signed up and didn’t get one so I emailed them and this is what I got from them:
    Thank you very much for contacting us.

    Unfortunately, the post for the free product coupon was a fraudulent post. It was posted without Snikiddy’s authority.

    We are very sensitive to customer service issues and understand you may be frustrated. Please understand that Snikiddy was not involved with this posting.

    As a token of our appreciation for completing our contact us form,we have included a link to a $1 off Snikiddy coupon.

  44. Lydia

    yea using saves me lots of money but sometimes the cashiers aren’t very nice, esp if there’s a high value one. There was a $5 cetaphil coupon that Collin posted a while back and my gosh, surely the cashier questioned it’s validity since it did beep. I was buying the lotion for ~11.99 too. 🙁

  45. Megan

    The Unilever (Dove deodorant) coupon looked just like one I printed off smartsource.com. And the Degree Deodorant coupon also looked like the same one I printed from smartsource.com. If these are actually counterfeit coupons….how can you tell? The ones I printed were from a legitimate site! How could smartsource.com have counterfeit coupons? I mean, I’m not printing my coupons from crazy websites or anything!

    • Boonie

      The only time I have been turned down on a Q that I was told was counterfeit was at Albs for a frozen dinner Q last week, I can’t remember where I got it but she said that if it doesn’t have the smaller bar code right under the expiration date it is counterfeit, I don’t know what else makes a Q. counterfeit….

  46. FrugalFriend

    Question:
    This same group says that we should neither sell nor buy coupons, because it’s fraud. What do you think? Because I buy from Coupon Clippers. Collin buys 3lb coupon inserts. Many of you buy from ebay. Is that wrong?

    • me

      You are not buying coupons if you use a clipping service. You are paying for the clipping service to clip and ship the coupons.

  47. keri

    thanks for the site…what i got from the site wasnt that SS was making fraud coupons…the people out there making the fraud coupons are just using SS logo…i can tell you for sure ANY RedBull coupon is fake..thats what my hubby does for a living..NEVER seen a coupon for it..heck we even pay full price for it..lol

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