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With consumer coupon use on the upswing, the incidence of counterfeit coupons is unfortunately increasing as well. Like many other grocers, Publix has seen its share of PhotoShop-created phonies. As company spokeswoman Shannon Patten told Tampa, Fla., CBS affiliate WTSP (10 News) for an article appearing on the station’s Web site, “Coupon fraud is definitely something popular right now.”
To counteract this trend, the Lakeland, Fla.-based company is now providing its cashiers with helpful tips on how to spot fraudulent coupons from the real deals. Associates are instructed to question coupons that say “no purchase necessary,” or offer discounts that exceed the item’s value. Other red flags include missing UPC codes or a lack of legal fine print from the manufacturer.
Despite its precautionary measures regarding fakes, Publix still encourages the use of legitimate coupons as a valuable marketing tool, Patten told the TV station, which covers news in Tampa, Sarasota, Clearwater and St. Petersburg, “[b]ut we’ve got to make sure we accept legitimate ones and our cashiers are really learning how to spot a bogus vs. a real.”