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“My Coupon is Real!” 4 Security Features That Prove It

by Freebies4Mom on January 26, 2011 10:30 am

Have you received a coupon in the mail for a free product only to find that when you try to redeem it the store cashier says “this looks like a fraudulent coupon’?  Here’s how you can prove your coupon is real if you received that coupon by mail from Coupons, Inc. You may need to speak to the store manager and feel free to point out the four security features of your legitimate coupon.

Well, chances are that the coupon you received is a completely valid coupon that is issued by Coupons, Inc. (same company as Coupons.com) for companies who want to offer consumers a “try me free” coupon by mail.  I wanted to point out the security features on the coupons by mail issued by Coupons, Inc. so that you will know exactly why these are legitimate coupons. This may help you if you speak to a store manager about the coupons you are using.

Example: Remember the free Excedrin offer (offer has ended)? They mailed out tons of coupons to get a free bottle of Excedrin and here are the security features of those coupons.

At-A-Glance: This looks like a printable coupon that you could have printed at home. But it isn’t and there are several ways to prove that.

Security Feature #1: Scratchable “Coupons, Inc.” Coupon Backer

Take a penny to the back of your coupon and you’ll see a “Coupons Inc.” watermark-like background (you can actually see it without even scratching with a coin). In small print the back of the paper it will say “This is a Veri-Fi protected coupon. Scratch with coin to reveal Coupons Inc. logo.”

Security Feature #2: “VOID” Background when Photocopied

When you photocopy or scan this coupon (which you would never do because it’s illegal to photocopy or scan coupons) you’ll see the words “VOID” appear from the special security background. There is also a light color image of the brand name behind the “Free” wording.

Security Feature #3: Unique Veri-Fi CodeDot

Look below the expiration date for a unique dot scan bar code that contains a unique Veri-Fi code.  Every valid coupon issued by Coupons, Inc. has a different code. Even printable “bricks” coupons have this unique code. Evner that code at the Coupons, Inc. Coupon Resource Center (or just http://www.veri-fi.com) to confirm the validity and exact terms of the coupon.

Security Feature #4: Yellow Dots within Expiration Date Box

Inside the box with the expiration date you’ll see randomly distributed yellow dots. You’ll also see these yellow dots on any printable coupon (as long as it was printed in color, please note that printable coupons usually can be printed in black ink only and still be valid to use). It’s another visual indicator that this coupon is the real thing.

Remember that these security features are found on coupons issued by Coupons,Inc. by mail and that there are other types of security features used by other companies.

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Di January 26, 2011 at 10:41 am

now I’m gonna have to break the law just to satisfy my curiosity about #2. I promise I’ll tear it up after I’m done. lol.

Thanks for the helpful post. My husband works for a grocery chain, and though I’m sure they have this info, I think I’ll pass it on anyway.

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Julie January 26, 2011 at 10:50 am

I tried this coupon, that I got in the mail, first at Walmart – they tried to take it from me and keep it saying it was illegal. I finally convinced them to at least give it back to me, but they wouldn’t let me use it. After taking it to two other stores (Lowes’s foods and Harris Teeter) Rite Aid allowed me to use it. It was pretty frusterating.

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Anne January 26, 2011 at 10:54 am

What do you do about the Smartsource printable coupons? They do not have a veri-fi mark. I had trouble at my local Shop N Save. They didn’t want to accept th Smartsource printables.

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Rachel January 26, 2011 at 10:55 am

None of my stores will accept these coupons. I have the same ones as this ad and they say they aren’t allow to accept them :(

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april January 26, 2011 at 11:20 am

I am surprised that you were having trouble redeeming the excedrin coupons…I did not have any trouble and a few of my stores are not the most coupon friendly…so silly…sorry you’ve had trouble…

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Jennifer January 26, 2011 at 11:38 am

I wish the stores would teach their employees how to detect the real ones. It’s humiliating to try to convince them that I didn’t make up my own coupon on a computer. The lady at ingles refused to even look at my coupon. I tried to show here the security features on the back and she would have none of it, just said no. Treated me like a criminal trying to con her.

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Kristin January 26, 2011 at 12:57 pm

A lot of our stores won’t take any printed coupons :(

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nelia January 26, 2011 at 1:11 pm

My CVS told me that they wont take “this print coupon” I just told them that I did not print it because I don’t have a verify kind of paper. She took it but was not so happy about it..

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christa January 26, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Walmart outright refused to take the excedrin coupons, but my CVS took them just fine :)

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Shayna January 26, 2011 at 1:22 pm

I used my Excedrin at Walgreens without any questions asked. My mother used hers at Krogers with no questions asked.

This was a very interesting subject. Thank you for taking the time to explain it to us.

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Tiffany January 26, 2011 at 1:23 pm

I keep mine attached to the letter until redemption. It’s another indicator that I did not print them myself. I had no trouble redeeming mine at Walmart, though the cashier didn’t seem happy. I think most cashiers dislike coupons in general. It was worth it though for 2 free excedrin and 2 free haircolor for me and my mom!

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S. Davis January 26, 2011 at 1:34 pm

I think I am going to take the entire page with me to shop & either cut it out at the register, or have the clerk cut it out!

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Hillary January 26, 2011 at 1:37 pm

I had trouble with a free hair color coupon (Garnier? I think) at Walmart, they took it but I had to go thru the whole flashing light, angry customers behind me, waiting to see the manager thing (I almost said never mind, I was so embarrassed). The manager knew immediately it was legit but the cashier was “only doing here job”. So when I received the Free Excedrin one (which looked exactly the same) I left it attached to the letterhead that it came with instead of tearing it off, like I did with the ther one. They didn’t think twice about it. Just tore it off, filled it out and stuck it in their drawer.

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Maria January 26, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Thank you for posting this. I DOES get frustrating when the cashiers refuses to take printable coupons and some of you had great ideas about keeping the coupon attached to the letter. I know there are people out there who DO copy coupons. Hope they are realizing that they are hurting a lot of people for it.

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Kaymore January 26, 2011 at 2:33 pm

When I tried to redeem my free Excedrin coupon, the cashier told me that they did not accept Internet coupons for free items. Luckily, I remembered that it wasn’t an Internet coupon, and then she looked again, and accepted it.

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Brandy January 26, 2011 at 3:12 pm

My Wal-Mart has to get a manager involved every time free is on a coupon. If it’s a BOGO or just free a manager has to review the coupons. Even if they are not printed. It’s crazy. I ended up using my Excedrin one at Walgreens when they had the bottles on sale and was able to snag a bigger bottle! Woot! :) I’m bummed I missed out on the free hair dye one. I could have totally used that one:P

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Need A Nap2 January 26, 2011 at 3:13 pm

I had trouble at Rite-Aid using a free Huggies coupon I had gotten from their own SCR rebate program! The cashier had asked for the manager and then the manager refused to take it. I told her it was from their own program and it even suggested that you use it at Rite-Aid on the back. It was a foil one, not even paper. I told her I had no way to copy that but she said she would have to talk to her boss (who of course wasn’t in and wouldn’t be until the next day). I was embarrassed but mostly mad! I made my husband go back the next day when of course they took the coupon. I told her they should familiarize themselves with the coupons their company was sending out!

Thanks for posting this, it can be confusing and embarrassing. I’ve had the most trouble at Wal-Mart lately. Usually the manager will take my printables just fine and I don’t mind waiting if it doesn’t take too long. :)

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Dawn January 26, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Thank you for the great info!!!

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Sue January 26, 2011 at 9:31 pm

My Harris Teeter, RiteAid, and Walgreens have been great about taking coupons. Some have understandably been refused such as a printed free item from my home computer. I don’t even bother with those much any more since almost all stores don’t take them. Our Food Lion and Farm Fresh here are okay with coupons, I just have to be extra careful with the purchase and have the coupons in order. The worst is Walmart and Target. I hardly shop at those stores anymore. But I have saved so much with the coupons and freebies from this sight. I just hope that it doesn’t get so bad with fraudelent coupons that stores start cutting out coupon usage.

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Melissa McCluney January 27, 2011 at 7:59 am

Have I got a story! Took my “Free (up to $5.99) Excedrin coupons to HEB. The register took off the entire price ($8.99), instead of $5.99. Pharmacist calls ass’t manager, who comes and says, -without even looking at me-, “these are fake. we aren’t supposed to take them.” I speak up and tell her, no, I received them in the mail from Excedrin. She repeats what she just said, AGAIN, to the pharmacist, and still without looking at me. STEAMED!!! I go home and call the store manager – who aplogizes profusely and then tells me that HEB has changed the policy regarding all coupons with “Free” on them. Even if they are legitimate, they will not take them. Even if, as in this case, it’s “free up to a certain amount”. If the word “FREE” is on it, they cannot take it.
Target, however, took all of them AND they were cheaper, so I got an even better deal…I love how the Lord works!! :)

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Stephanie January 27, 2011 at 9:16 am

My Kroger store informed me they will not take any free coupons printed from the Internet. I was trying to use a free Milk coupon that required a $100 purchase and had all of the coupons.com security features. Is that hard for stores to teach their employees on what is fake and what is real?

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rachelle whitaker January 29, 2011 at 6:53 pm

I only shop at Meijer and have never had an issue with my coupons. Walmart and Target haven’t given me any trouble either but from all the stories I’ve read I rarely head there with coupons. I flat out refuse to go to WAGS because the stories make me so mad and with my temper I know better than to put myself in that situation. CVS has been awesome with coupons the 3 times I’ve gone with them. I probably just jinxed myself with that one!

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Dori January 30, 2011 at 8:22 am

I think maybe Kroger not taking printed free coupons is a chain wide thing. They do that in Monroe, MI too.

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Melissa February 4, 2011 at 4:30 pm

My Kroger here in Houston is still taking them. We’ll see how long that lasts!

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Jen September 20, 2011 at 8:08 am

My Kroger in London, Ky takes the printable coupons & even doubles them up to 50 cents. 

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CP February 2, 2011 at 12:24 am

I too got the free Excedrin coupons in the mail. Safeway in Seattle would not accept them. The cashier was clueless. She went and got one manager who was equally as clueless, then got second manager to come “examine” the coupons. Both managers on site said that it looked like a printed coupon and said they do not accept printed coupons for free items. I mentioned that there should be an authentication in the back. They looked on the back and still wouldn’t accepted. I should have saved the envelope it was mailed in for proof. There were others in the line so I just took the coupons back, not wanting to hold the line up. I guess I will try to use them at a different store next time.

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Rayannchick July 14, 2012 at 9:02 am

i get this all the time too. shaws especially as i live in the state of maine and thats one of the big chains along with hannaford. thankfully hannaford hasnt been to picky. shaws has a new coupon policy. no internet coupons over 2.00… its crazy how they try and say they try and save you money yet wont take coupons they get reimbursed for plus tax and 8 cents per a value of a coupon. so they make a lil more money off a product when you use a coupon. yet they are so strict. i like walmart. they have never refused any coupons from me EVER. i use to hate walmart shopping but how the other chains keep changing there coupon policies i have to go with walmart when others wont use them. i had 7 free ice cream coupons from blue bunny for a house party and they wouldnt take them and said they look counterfiet. they say anything to not accept them. so even if there not printed coupons they will find something to refuse the coupons.

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Cyndi Schrempf-Rosenthal October 6, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Where do i get free product coupons?

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Anonymous January 4, 2012 at 7:49 am

Free product coupons are available from different brands and retailers for a very limited time. When I find them I share them by posting on my blog Freebies4Mom.com

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