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Uptick in Coupon Fraud Warnings
Published : Wednesday, 07 Oct 2009, 9:07 AM CDT

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (FOX 9) - The Minnesota Grocers Association has a warning about fraudulent internet coupons. The scam is on the rise.

There are ways to recognize if a coupon is fake.
**You should never have to buy a coupon.
**The expiration date is typically three months or less.
**The bar code has to be legible.
**Also look for different dollar amounts on the coupon.
**The words "manufacturer coupon" is not printed on it.

If you realize you've found an online coupon scam, notify authorities like the Better Business Bureau or FBI.

Jamie Pfuhl, the president of the Minnesota Grocers Association, says "it is a criminal offense. It can go from fraud to a misdemeanor and i know there was a five million dollar penalty for someone prosecuted for this and someone did do 17 years in jail."

A few of our viewers have told us some rural Walmarts and other small grocery stores won't accept any internet coupons, because of fraud.

Walmart officials say all Walmarts have to honor the policy to accept internet coupons. The rules include a valid expiration date, a legible bar code, and the words manufacturer coupon printed on it. 

Some stores will not accept coupons printed out in black and white..only original color.

The Grocers Association says the industry loses millions of dollars each year because of online coupon fraud.



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