06 Jun

Written by Kathryn Vercillo on June 6, 2009

Most of us use coupons just to save a few pennies here and there. A handful of coupon queens manage to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars per month with their coupons. But there are some people out there who engage in massive coupon fraud and these people end up costing manufacturers millions of dollars in fraudulent losses.

There is a big coupon fraud cause happening in the United States right now. Through fraud, a group of people was able to steal over $250 million in a ten year span which is likely the largest ever loss for the coupon industry. The fraud was conducted in two ways. First of all, the defendants were simply submitting fraudulent coupons to get good (but illegal) deals. And secondly, they were lying to stores and saying that they tried to use legal coupons but manufacturers were rejecting them; the stores would return that money and the criminals would keep it. Two of the eleven defendants have pleaded guilty and the other nine are still facing charges.

This isn’t just a problem facing Americans. There are problems in the UK as well according to the Institute of Sales Promotion which is an organization that represents the manufacturers of coupons there. Organized groups of coupon fraudsters are manipulating the bar codes on coupons to get more money back than should be given. Redemptions by just one company last year cost manufacturers £9,000. They also report that wrong-item coupon redemptions are costing companies about £50 million per year.

Perhaps moving away from printed coupons and towards more online coupon code use is one answer to this problem. Although there is going to be fraud in any area of the industry, a lot of the problems resulting from fake coupons would not be possible when entering discount codes.

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