Because it’s April Fool’s Day, I wanted to offer some advice on how to figure out if you’re using a fake coupon (you know, so you don’t feel like a fool!). Apparently, counterfeiting coupons is a pretty big business, and people are getting busted left and right for printing fake coupons. Of course, when you use online coupon codes through CouponPal, you never have to worry about getting duped. But I wanted to make sure you know what to look for if you happen upon coupons to use at brick-and-mortar stores.
Here are the 5 major red flags that could mean your coupon is a big ol’ fake.
1. The coupon is for a very high amount.
If you find a coupon that is for a very large amount, that should alert you to a problem. Companies still need to be making a profit on their products, so they’re not going to offer coupons that will actually make them lose money. Be smart about whether the coupon is offering a reasonable deal.
2. The coupon came from an unknown source.
When you can’t determine where a coupon originally came from, it’s probably a fake. Beware of coupons that are emailed to you (even if you know the sender). Counterfeiters often try to just get their coupons in rotation, so make sure you check to see if you’ve heard of the company offering the coupon.
3. It doesn’t have a UPC code on it.
For coupons that you’re using in person (as opposed to online), there should be a UPC code on it so cashiers can scan the coupon. If your coupon doesn’t have one, it’s likely to be a fake.
4. It has an expiration date a long way into the future.
Companies won’t make money on coupons that can be used within 6 months to a year in advance. If you find a coupon that doesn’t expire for a super long time, it’s most likely not real. There are exceptions for major retailers, but it’s always good to be aware of this likelihood.
5. There are any typos or misprints.
The biggest red flag that you’re using a fake coupon is any type of error on the actual coupon. For some reason, criminals are not good proofreaders. Make sure to read the fine print – if there are any typos at all, it’s definitely not the work of a real company. (Side note: this is also a good rule for spam emails. If that email your bank sent you asking to enter your personal info has a misprint, it’s not real!)
Hopefully these tips will stop you from ever using a fake coupon again. And you can prevent this completely by using coupon codes from us. We’d never fool you.