Here at KCL, we firmly believe in following the ethics of couponing, which include never making, using, or advocating the use of fraudulent coupons.

Using an illegitimate or photocopied coupon, or a coupon on a product for which it is not intended, is considered coupon fraud and is punishable by fines and imprisonment. Read on to educate yourself on how to tell a real from a fake!

Legitimate Internet Printable Properties

  • Expiration dates usually 30 days to 3 months from printout
  • Scannable bar code
  • Print limits, usually 1–2 per computer
  • Individual codes unique to one coupon, linking the coupon to your printer and IP address
  • Printed using a downloadable software that enables printing of the individual code

Red Flags That May Indicate a Fraudulent or Fake Coupon

  • Unusually high value coupon
  • No expiration date, or an expiration date more than one year away
  • "Free product" printable coupon
Keep in mind that these are guidelines and there are sometimes exceptions, such as PDF coupons. If a coupon varies from the standard form/look of a typical printable or has more than one red flag, be skeptical. Trace the coupon to its source to establish validity. Printable coupons need a scannable bar code to be accepted at stores. Do not buy printable coupons from third parties because the validity and source of the coupon cannot be guaranteed. Also keep up to date on the list of fraudulent coupons on the Coupon Information Corporation website.

Stay safe by printing from legitimate sites like Coupons.comSmartsource.comRedPlum.com,CouponNetwork.com, and Target.com. Other places to find online coupons include manufacturer websites and Facebook fan pages. For an extensive list of current coupons, check out our Printable Coupon Database.