Coupon Tip Tuesday: How to Tell a Fake

coupon help, tips

A few months ago I walked you through the anatomy of a coupon. I am going to use the coupon image from that post to help me explain some good ways to tell a fake coupon!

Rule 1: Be sure to stick to reputable sites when printing coupons like:, smartsource, and redplum. If you print from a manufatures website or a bricks coupon link you will be safe as well. We have a more comprehensive list of reputable coupons printing sites here.

A few things to looks for on a legitimate coupon from

  1. Product watermark behind the coupon value
  2. Little dots in the expiration date box
  3. The time and date stamp around the coupon
  4. Unique serial number on the coupon
  5. and verify logo

A few things that raise a red flag when printing coupons:

  1. Coupons from an email sent to you by a friend and not the manufacturer
  2. Coupons found in a PDF form
  3. Coupons that do not have a print limit
  4. Expiration date that is really, really far out
  5. Coupon that does not have a bar code.
  6. Coupon is for a FREE product {These are rarely printable off the internet normally obtained directly through a manufacture}
  7. Coupon value is unusually high

If you suspect a fraudulent coupon you can check to see if it is listed on the counterfeit coupon list. If the suspicious coupon is not listed and you think it is fake you can report fraudulent coupons here.

Never copy your coupons doing so makes them fraudulent! Learn more about coupon ethics here!



  • F.A.B Becky

    So, what do you guys do if you know a coupon is legit, but the cashier at the store says it’s fake?
    A couple of weeks ago I went to Walgreens with my 75 cents of body wash coupons, and the cashier said it was fake, and she wouldn’t take it…

  • Monica

    I politely point out the security features of the coupon and explain where I printed it from. That usually is enough for me. If they do not agree you can always ask for management. Be sure to be cool and be polite.

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