Counterfeit Coupons

Counterfeit CouponsI know about coupons. You probably do too.  You cut them out, buy the product,  and hand them to the cashier to save money on your food and other purchases.  Is there more to know?

Yes, I think you should be aware that there are counterfeit coupons in circulation.  People who do not know they have a counterfeit coupon become guilty of coupon fraud when they try to use it…. and to me, that’s simply not fair.  I never know definitively if the coupon I printed or any other coupon I possess  is counterfeit.  There is no 100% sure way to tell.   All the advice I have seen to avoid coupon fraud says, “Don’t buy coupons from anyone.”  I have never purchased coupons from anyone, does this mean I am safe?  — no.  Because if I search the internet for a coupon, and the site looks legitimate, and the coupon looks like every other coupon I see distributed on the internet….it could still be counterfeit but how would I ever know?

Counterfeit Coupons

 The Internet has become the most cost effective way to distribute coupons.  This method saves money by not having to design, print, and hire a firm to place their coupons in local newspapers.  But, where there is money to be made, it’s just a matter of time before someone figures out how to get around the system.  Coupons are counterfeited with the express purpose of either selling them to unsuspecting victims and to “steal” products from the stores.  Getting away with it, is as easy as bringing in a printed piece of paper…or putting up an online auction ~  how easy can it get?

Counterfeit Coupons

The caveat is that  not all stores will accept internet coupons, and still others limit their use.  Why?  The ease in being able to “photocopy” and counterfeit internet coupons of course.  I don’t have a problem with limitations in theory –  although when merchants won’t accept them, that defeats the entire purpose of having a coupon.  When I buy the exact item listed on the coupon, I don’t just have “high expectations” the coupon will be accepted, I feel it should be accepted.

Looking at the list of “known” counterfeit coupons ( find it here:  most aren’t free coupons, but instead are a cents off coupon, or a buy one get one free coupon — why?  The counterfeit coupons people circulate aren’t always for a free product.  You would think they would be.  And did you notice I said circulate?  For some reason,  the people who counterfeit them, also like to share them (sometimes freely, sometimes for a fee).  And, I really don’t get it, they risk jail time, a huge fine, and their reputation in addition to the embarrassment for a discount off a purchase?

Many people have written articles lately to scare legitimate users — telling them they will be guilty of coupon fraud as well as ….”this, that, or the other thing” if they print and use them.   However, that annoys me because none of that is even close to fair to the normal user of these coupons.  If a person prints 1000 of them, and then goes to use them or sell them — that is one thing,  if another person uses one they printed when that user shared them — I don’t believe there is one shred of guilt there.  Whatever happened to common sense?  Thousands of manufacturers have chosen this method to distribute their coupons, and it saves them considerable amounts of money and works to encourage customers to try their products.   Will coupon fraud end that?

Counterfeit Coupons

The most help provided as a way to avoid coupon fraud for the average person is “don’t buy coupons”.  So  why are there still so many sellers of them on eBay?  Why hasn’t eBay shut the category?  If the CIC (link above) and the other law enforcement agencies truly believed this was the foremost way most counterfeit coupons get into circulation, why haven’t they shut the venue/category down.  My check of eBay today had 68,483 listings in coupons.

And then what do you do when even the legitimate coupons are rejected at the store level?  To an honest consumer, this is one of the biggest hassles you can encounter.  You feel like you’ve done something wrong when you haven’t — you feel accused and found guilty.  You are embarrassed for no reason.  In my opinion, and everything I write is 100% my opinion, there is no reason for a store, cashier or policy to do this to anyone.  If it happens to you, my advice is to just pick up your remaining coupons and leave.

UPDATE:  Ever hear of the universal consciousness?  My sister talks about it all the time ~ and just a few days after writing this article  – they arrested several woman who they allege were running  the largest counterfeit coupon ring in AZ!  This wasn’t ‘thousands’ of dollars, it looks like it might have be ‘millions’ of dollars.  More info, if you are interested here:  Counterfeit Coupon Ring Busted




68th Anniversay of The G.I. Bill

Today June 22, 2012 marks the 68th anniversary of the signing of the G.I. Bill of Rights, or technically the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944.   Originally meant only for those who served in times of war, it was adjusted in 1966 to extend benefits to those who serve in times of war or peace.  Since that time there have been other changes but the original intent to help those who serve in our military remains intact.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt made many reforms during his administration, but this one piece of legislation has lasting benefits for anyone who serves this country in our armed forces.

The bill was meant to not only help servicemen and women but also to avoid a relapse into another depression after the end of World War II.   The American Legion, a veteran’s organization was instrumental in forming many of the provisions of the bill.  Truth is, they fought hard to get access to funding for benefits like education, low-interest home and business loans, and the unemployment compensation package included in the bill.

The implementation of the bill opened doors, and helped veterans cope when returning to the US from World War II.  Even today, it still provides aid and help to them and their families in ways that might never have been possible without this bill.

In my opinion the best benefit of the G.I. Bill is the educational one.  I believe that this could be the one which can be the most life transforming.  Before World War II, college was an option for only about 10-15% of Americans but by 1947 veterans made up nearly half of the nation’s college enrollment.  When you have an education (formal or informal), at any cost, you move yourself up to another level.  Your ability to get a job, keep a job, make a living wage and succeed in whatever you chose increase.

The G.I. Bill was one of the major forces that fueled expansion in the U.S. lasting over 30 years.  The impact on America in 50+ years has been enormous.  Over 20 million veterans have taken advantage of the provisions for education, and a whopping 14 million homes were able to be purchased through it’s loans guarantees.

The newest revision of the bill  (signed in 2009) extended benefits to veterans of the war on terrorism, post 9/11, including those who served in Afghanistan and Iraq and their families, reservists and National Guard members.



A Diamond Jubilee

Congratulations to the Queen of England, Elizabeth II who is celebrating 60 years as the British Sovereign this year.  I do not know about you, but that’s a long time.

So many things have changed, been invented and put into common use since when her reign started.  Changes to the world itself, its climate, economic situation and even to the way the monarchy itself functions.

One of those inventions was computers, and to show that the monarchy can keep up with changing technology…. Did you know…?

In 1997 the British Monarchy established their own website:  from which I obtained many of these facts.

In July 2009 the Queen joined Twitter – though I believe that she has official tweet-iers (tweet – t- ears, my word) who do all the tweeting for her on a daily basis.  Congratulate or send good wishes via twitter to @BritishMonarchy

The Queen joined facebook in 2010 with the establishment of the page called The British Monarchy and for those who’d like to see it, it’s located here:

And in just 3 more years – she will equal the reign of Queen Victoria who reigned 63 years. If she surpasses that milestone – it will make her the longest reigning British monarch.   I, for one, hope she makes that and many more!



The Indianapolis 500

The Indianapolis 500 will be run tomorrow Sunday, May 27th., just as it has most Memorial Day weekends since the first race on May 30, 1911. Winning this race is an accomplishment for a driver and team not on par with any other.

I haven’t had the pleasure of attending this particular race, or even visiting the Indiana track on an off weekend. However, I did have the pleasure of going to the Las Vegas Speedway and the last race of the 2011 Indy season in October, and meeting last years Indy 500 winner, Dan Wheldon. Dan was actually a two time winner of the Indianapolis 500, in 2005 and 2011. He was the nicest person we met the entire week we were there! He was infectiously bubbly, upbeat, positive and confident. In his trailer before the race he proudly showed us Susies’ initals he had tattooed on his wrist, saying it was a spur of the minute thing they just decided to do to mark the love they had for one another.

But then there was the ultimate tragegy in lap 11. I was standing behind Dan’s pit when the accident happened across the track. I couldn’t see anything but flying debis, fire and smoke. I found myself screaming, where are the fire crews? Why aren’t they out there? What’s taking them so long? And I watched as Susie screamed, took off her headset and ran crying to the waiting cart.

The only Indy car race that I ever attended ended in tragedy and was cut short, having only run 11 laps. But that doesn’t mean the race wasn’t extreme in both excitement, and in speed. The Indy cars go so very fast (over 200 MPH), you cannot actually see them go by ~ whish, whoosh and gone. I certainly would have preferred any other outcome but the one that day. Tomorrow as I celebrate my 40th. Wedding Anniversary, I am doubly saddened by the thought of Dan’s family without him.

Some of the biggest names in autosports have run and won this race, names like Bobby and Al Unser, AJ Foyt, Mario Andretti. And although some of the drivers of the Indy cars have moved to other racing circuts, for example Tony Stewart, Scott Speed, Juan Pablo Montoya and most recently Danica Patrick, there is still nothing like the Indianaplis 500! So if you want to see some exciting racing start to finish, from the comfort of your living room without all the extreme noise that goes with actually being at Indy – watch the race tomorrow at 11:00AM EST.

National Missing Children’s Day

Today is the 33rd anniversary of the day Etan Patz, a New York City 6 years old disappeared. He was on his way to his school bus stop – the first time he was allowed to go alone. He never returned home.

That day changed how we looked at things, caused us sadness for his family, and fear for our own children. Brought to national attention by the media and his picture being posted on milk cartons, all parents now had to worry, would my child be next?

I lived in a city close to NYC as a child. I can tell you in 1959, it wasn’t like that. Our parents didn’t show any sign of worry as they pushed us out of the apartment in the morning and off to school. I was 4 years old and walked ten city blocks to Catholic school. And yet, I don’t remember ever being afraid.

I know Etan wasn’t the first child to ever go missing, and I know he won’t be the last. Today is the anniversary of the day that changed the way we view other adults. It turned any interaction by another adult with our child from “innocent” to potential “suspicious behavior.” Somehow the realization that Etan (or any child) could be snatched on his way to the bus and never returned shakes any parent to this day. It’s the day that started us watching, waiting and doing all we can to avoid the unthinkable – losing our child to some stranger. It made us hold them close and not let them be a free to be children as they once were.

Is it good, or is it bad? I think it’s a little of both. I am happy to see that parents care enough about their children to take them to the bus stop and wait for the bus to arrive. I am happy to see them paying attention and holding onto them in the stores and around town. I am happy they installed GPS to the school buses – but down deep and overall I am sorry it’s all necessary. And despite all of our efforts, kids still go missing.