Photoshop and other graphic editing programs have made it simple for scam artists to generate fake printable online coupons. This costs retailers millions of dollars each year, since they can’t receive reimbursement from the product manufacturer after accepting a fraudulent coupon. Because of this, some stores are now refusing to accept any type of printable online coupon.
Although it can sometimes be difficult to tell if a coupon is fake, there are a few warning signs you should look for. For example:
- The coupon seems blurry or hard to read.
- There are spelling or grammar errors in the coupon text.
- The coupon doesn’t have a scannable bar code.
- The coupon offers a free item or an unbelievable savings, such as $9 off an item that costs $10.
- The coupon is for McDonald's or another fast food restaurant. Scam artists typically target these businesses most often.
If you knowingly use a fraudulent coupon to purchase an item, the retailer may decide to press charges. This is legally considered the same as stealing.