I don’t sit around thinking about online coupon codes. But they came to mind as I fumbled for change to pay for my 2 for $3 burger deal at dinner recently. The worker behind the counter was surprisingly nice and scurried to find a ripped up old expired coupon for the offer. She was doing this to get the coupon code. And that’s when I realized how superior online coupon codes are to traditional coupons – it’s not the coupon that matters. Thanks to our ever-connected world, it’s the code.
Which makes me wonder how stupid some people can be. Lately, I’ve been reading about two bottom-of-the-barrel criminal behaviors – counterfeit couponing and coupon abuse. They’re essentially the same idea, with coupon abuse covering a wide variety of unscrupulous coupon activities like copying, reselling, and making available fake print coupons in online form. Seriously, what kind of crooks have to stoop to creating duplicates of “Free Tacos” for a living? Ay Dios mio. Of course, turn this into millions of dollars in coupons, and you have, well, a taco empire?
Fake Coupon Rings
Bargain Briana knows about counterfeit coupon rings all too well, as she describes how to spot fake coupons, including strategies like watching out for extended expiration dates, knowing the source of the coupon, and watching out for coupons too good to be true. Which is all well and good, but with online coupon codes, you don’t have to worry about all this!
Can an online code be counterfeited? It’s not impossible but it’s highly improbable. A counterfeiter would need access to the coupon company’s content management system, quite a few steps up from a high quality printer and paper. Ultimately, there’s no face for the coupon, just a series of letters, numbers, and maybe special characters with a set expiration date, allowing it to be automatically removed from the CMS at a set date, making successful counterfeiting quite a challenge.
Reality shows like Extreme Couponing can also contribute to coupon abuse. As Briana points out, many of the people on the show use fake coupons without any repercussion. Let’s make this clearer than crystal: Use a fake coupon and you WILL BE PROSECUTED to the fullest extent of the law!
Ahem. Thank you.
So what do you do if you’re concerned about fake coupons? Check out the Coupon Information Corporation (CIC) for helpful tips on spotting fake coupons. They even have a list of known fake coupons available.
Whenever I think of coupons, I’ll always think back to the burger lady who hooked me up. And I’ll remember that it was the code that ultimately did the work.
Do you ever use online coupon codes when you shop? Have you ever come across a fake coupon before? Tell us about your encounters with our friend the voucher and the often imitated never duplicated code.
Mark Adams writes for Homiecode.com and seldom turns down a free taco handed to him.