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.