Bogus coupons, other scams increasingly common - part 1
Scam simple with coupons
Bud Miller, executive director of Coupon Info Corp. -- a group that represents manufacturers that issue coupons -- said that his group saw only 18 reports of bogus coupons in 2007. By 2011, that amount had risen to 486. This year, more than 600 cases have been reported in the first half of the year alone.
'They don't care who it hurts'
A number of people are concerned with saving a ton of money during tough economic times, which is why they are willing to justify the scam, according to Jill Cataldo:
"They want to get all that they can as cheap as they can, and they don't care who it hurts in the process. Eventually it trickles down into higher prices for everybody, and that's something you should care about."
Josh Elledge, of the coupon site SavingsAngel.com, said:
"It's going to accelerate the thing that irritates us all, the constant creeping up of prices and the constant shrinking of package sizes... That's not sticking it to the man. That's sticking it to everybody."
If retailers give discounts to consumers using coupons inappropriately, then their tills come up short when reimbursed by the producer that issued the coupon. To make up that shortage, retailers may pass those costs onto consumers in the form of higher costs.
An accident occasionally
Sometimes, coupon fraud is committed accidentally, as was the case with a recent consumer who wrote to Cataldo. This shopper printed out many copies of a coupon from an online version of a newspaper.
George R. was a shopper who said:
"Same as buying many copies of the paper, right?"
When there is a scanned copy of a clipping, it is not valid. The issue with printing off the newspaper version is it is definitely a scanned copy occasionally. They do not copy to another medium very well.
An enormous problem
There are a bunch of people who were involved in an enormous coupon scam in Texas. The 22 year old couponer, Corey Scott Lester, pleaded guilty to felony theft after paying off cashiers at a Kroger store in order to get them to accept fake coupons. There are other people getting charged as well. Lester stole $20,000 to $100,000 worth of stuff in the scam. It is a significant crime and very organized.
Police detective David Scott said:
"They would buy $1,000 worth of goods and pay only $20. They would 'tip' the cashier about $50 to $1,000."
Getting off was really simple for Scott. He only got eight years of probation and 30 days in prison. That is a simple sentence.
Common frauds and mistakes
You need to learn the best way to avoid widespread frauds and mistakes in order to keep prices low. We will look at these common mistakes in the second part of the article to help you out.