Coupon Fraud: Rules to Internet Printable Coupons


Internet printable coupons are increasing more and more. It is improtant to know a few things about printable coupons to avoid fraud. Currently the Counterfeit Information Corporation lists 70 known counterfiet printable coupons.

Here are some guidelines:

  • Never photocopy or scan a printable coupon or any coupon. It is illegal to photocopy coupons. An internet printable coupon has a unique barcode every time it is printed from a computer printer. A manufacturer will not reimburse the store if the coupon has been photocopied or altered in any way.
  • A coupon should have at least an address listed on it for store reimbursement, an expiration date, a barcode and a description of the product.
  • Most internet printable coupons have a print limit of two per computer. If a printable coupon is in a PDF file, it is more likely to be counterfeit. A PDF file allows for unlimited prints and most manufacturers do not allow that.
  • “If it is too good to be true, it probably is.” It is unlikely that a printable coupon will be for a free product. In fact Kroger will not accept a printable coupon for a free product. The chances are high that an internet printable free product coupon is fraudulent.
  • Most stores do not accept expired coupons. If you have expired coupons, donate them to overseas military.
  • Internet printable coupons from a manufacturer’s website, Smartsource, Red Plum, or a grocery store website are all reputable.

If you have any questions about coupon printing or fraud please feel free to ask!


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  1. The Mentalist says

    It is incorrect to say that photcopying an already computer printed coupon is “illegal.” It is not. However, they are discouraged and prohibited and considered “void” in worst case scenario. The reason being it is hard to enforce or prove something “illegal” when you are already allowing printer printouts. Moreover, public can not be put on “stand” at retail stores when the judge and the jury is none other but employees at the stores. In addition to that, something is “illegal” as long as you can prove it in court. While some “copies” may be poor and look xerox copies, most do not. Therefore, even if it were “illegal” it could not be proven in any court in the world.

    Let me know if you have the actual law in books for “Xerox Copies” on already computer printed coupons as opposed to “void.”. With all that said, making copies of actual color coupons that we receive in newspapers etc. are obviously “void” coupons.

    Thank you an dhave a greta day!

    • says

      There are measures that are taken to prevent coupon xeroxing. And it is coupon fraud to xerox a printable coupon or any coupon. You can find information on it at the links above. When a coupon is xeroxed, there are features in place that the manufacturer can tell if a coupon has been xeroxed. If this is the case they will not reimburse the store. We believe in honest couponing and therefore do not condone copying coupons.
      .-= Renae @ Madame Deals´s last blog ..Rite Aid Best Deals Week of 2/7 =-.

    • Tom Rise says

      I would like to tell you somthing and see if you think i need to worry about this.I buy food coupons from ebay they are just as cheap than buying a lot of papers.I went into the safeway store the other night and the check out lady told me some of the coupons were copyed see got the manger and told me that it was fraud what i was trying to do.I was all shook up by the time i got back to my car.Could i be in any troible over this?They did not want to hear anything i had to say.Thank you for your time.

    • Will says

      Photocopying a coupon of any sort is illegal. They are a payment media, and using one that is in violation of the manufacture’s offer is fraud – plain and simple. It can be prosecuted, from a misdemeanor to felony, depending on the amount and past criminal history of the offender. Furthermore, Internet coupons are serialized. When the manufacturer scans them, the photocopies WILL be identified. Remember… You registered with the coupon site – and the coupon embeds that information into the bar codes. Even if you falsify your registration, the IP address and time of printing is available and can be tracked down to you via your ISP.

      Once identified, first offenders typically see an “access denied” on their next visit to the coupon site. They have to contact the site’s operators to regain access, upon which they will have all this explained to them. After that… You go with God, as they say.

  2. Amy says

    I was in Kroger yesterday and told that they would no longer accept internet printed coupons as they are illegal. Is this true?

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