Fake Coupons

Jennise Colin-Ventura takes a look at a counterfeit coupons online Monday at the Killeen Daily Herald.

The fake coupon was posted on other Facebook sites and promised $75 off when you spend $80 or more in honor of the grocer’s 125th anniversary.

A comment on Aldi’s Facebook post about the coupon said the coupon “looked legit.” However, if it did not come directly from the store, an Aldi circular delivered to your mailbox or the newspaper, then it probably isn’t real.

Killeen Daily Herald employee Jennise Colin-Ventura, a coupon expert known as “SaveAlot Mom,” said fake coupons are rampant on the internet.

“When you start seeing coupons of high value, that is when red flags should start coming up,” she said.

Suggestions

According to the Coupon Information Center — a national nonprofit organization that provides information and support to consumers, retailers, manufacturers and law enforcement — there are tips to avoid being fooled by counterfeit coupons.

“Simply use the coupons you obtain from your newspaper, manufacturer’s website or their authorized coupon distributor,” according to the center. “Never pay money for a coupon; do not download coupons from internet forums; if a friend emails you coupons, especially high value or free product coupons, the coupons are most likely counterfeit. Most manufacturers follow common sense practices about internet print-at-home coupons, for example, the coupon itself should not be visible on your computer screen.”

The Coupon Information Center reported that coupon fraud can cost product manufacturers hundreds of millions of dollars every year, which increases the costs for consumers and makes it more difficult for honest consumers to use coupons legitimately.

Coupon fraud cases

The center has supported prosecution of coupon fraud cases since 1986 and has not lost a case.

The largest penalties for coupon fraud the center has assisted in was a sentence of 17 years in prison and fines of $5 million.

Aldi stores, known for lower-cost products, does not take manufacturer coupons.

“The majority of our products are ALDI exclusive brands where customers save up to 50 percent on more than 1,300 of the most commonly purchased grocery items with no coupons needed,” according to the grocery chain. “ALDI does carry some brand name products; however, we negotiate the best possible prices with our suppliers, so we are unable to accept manufacturer’s coupons.”

Still, the fact that Aldi doesn’t allow manufacturer’s coupons doesn’t bother Angie Karraker, a Harker Heights teacher.

“Aldi used to have a $10 off $50 coupon in their ad every month, when they first opened in Killeen. I’ve never tried to use manufacturer coupons there,” she said. “I love shopping at Aldi. I can’t get everything there, but 90 percent of my groceries come from there, and I think it’s cheaper than other retailers.”

Another longtime shopper, Megan Mendenhall, formerly a military family from Killeen, said she can feed her family of six for about $100 per week using Aldi’s already low prices.

Coupons in paper

As for legitimate coupons, you can check the Fort Hood Herald on Wednesdays for the Red Plum inserts, which also run in the Killeen Daily Herald on Sundays, along with the P&G inserts.

For more money-saving tips, follow Savealot mom at kdhnews.com/blogs/savealotmom/.

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