Coupon Craze: Ways to Avoid Illegal Couponing for Both the Consumer and the Brand Owners

The coupon craze has hit America hard. With shows like TLC’s Extreme Couponing, it’s a struggle not to clean out the garage and start your own stockpile. But you need to be careful. Illegal couponing happens more than you think and if you aren’t safe, you’ll find the weeks of planning and strategizing for your next big haul, a total waste.

Below are a few helpful tips to help you avoid running into problems, or painting yourself as a counterfeiter.

  1.  Do not photocopy or accept photocopied coupons. It is not an uncommon practice for couponers to meet in groups and trade around that week’s best deals. Online websites offer a wide variety of coupons that are perfect for these occasions. However, what is unknown to many is that these websites track and limit how many of each coupon is permitted. So, if you print off your allotted amount and run to your desktop scanner to print 10 more for your friends, you have just become a counterfeiter.
  2. Do not make your own coupons. This may go without saying but as tempting as it may be, it’s illegal. Think of coupons as currency. You wouldn’t go and create hundred dollar bills, so don’t go and create a hundred dollars’ worth of fake coupons. Even if the store accepts them at the time, they will not be reimbursed which will make them amp up their coupon policies, and make your next trip to the grocery store more tedious.
  3. Do not remove expiration dates. Did you get up to the register and realize that your stack of BOGO coupons expired last week? It’s a big letdown. But don’t let that disappointment drive you to committing fraud. Removing expiration dates is an alteration of an original product and it is illegal. Granted, it might be a quick fix to your BOGO problem, but if you’re caught you can be facing judicial actions.

Brand owners do not take these criminal actions lightly and are constantly looking for ways to protect themselves. DSS offers these companies protection for both physical and digital coupons.

From the paper it is printed on, to the actual barcode itself, DSS creates customizable coupon solutions for well-known brands. When one of these coupons is duplicated, a hidden  message such as ‘VOID’ or ‘UNAUTHORIZED COPY’ appear to warn the cashier against the fraudulent document. Additionally, with the implantation of AuthentiGuard Barcode Barricade, a copied or scanned barcode becomes unreadable.

As for coupons that are found online, DSS Digital Group has developed a way to offer these same protections through a cloud based system, AuthentiGuard DX.

Wither you are the brand owner, or a consumer, taking action to avoid counterfeit coupons helps everyone. As companies no longer have to make up for lost margin, prices on your favorite products stay low, and small business owners won’t have to ramp up their coupon policies in retaliation.

For more information on how we can protect your brand please visit,