Posted on Tuesday, August 11th, 2015 at 7:00 am
Is the awesome coupon that you saw on Facebook too good to be true? Have you ever visited a random website and found a questionable advertisement about coupons? It can be difficult to sort out the valid coupons from the scams. The CIC can help you spot fake coupons.
What is the CIC?
CIC stands for Coupon Information Center. It is a not-for-profit association of consumer product manufacturers who are dedicated to fighting coupon misredemption and fraud. The CIC has worked with Federal, State, and local law enforcement officials on coupon fraud cases since 1986.
The CIC informs consumers about the counterfeit coupons that are being circulated. There is a section on their main page that says “Counterfeit Coupon Alert”. It will show two of the most recently reported fraudulent coupons (with links that will give you more information about them). Next time you see a questionable coupon on Facebook, or somewhere else, visit the CIC website and check to see if it has been reported.
The CIC is On Twitter
Do you use Twitter? Follow @CIC_HQ. It is the Twitter account of the Coupon Information Institute. They post tweets with information about the counterfeit coupons as they become aware of them. In addition, they also tweet links to articles about situations where coupon fraud has occurred. The information they post can help you to avoid fake coupons.
Report Coupon Fraud
Are you a victim of coupon counterfeits? The CIC has information about how to file a complaint with the United States Postal Service. The CIC points out what kind of information you need to have in order to report mail crime. Make sure to keep all original documents, including emails, that are related to your complaint.
The CIC has put together a helpful list called “Considerate Couponing”. It lets consumers know what the best practices are for using coupons. It starts with the basics, which can be very helpful for people who are brand new to couponing.
The list points out some practices that are prohibited. It is illegal to buy or sell coupons. It is also against the law to photocopy coupons. People who steal newspapers, in order to get extra coupons, are breaking the law.
What about “dumpster diving”? Some people choose to dig around in dumpsters in the hopes of finding newspaper inserts that contain coupons. This practice is controversial. The CIC points out that if the dumpster is located on private property, a person could be arrested for trespassing.