An Ellerbe, NC couple was arrested last week while attempting to use fraudulent free product coupons at Walmart!
The couple, Sandra Webb Yaklin, 54, and James Vernon Rainwater, 52, were arrested at an Aberdeen Walmart on June 18. An observant cashier realized something was not right about the coupons they were trying to use and requested assistance from a manager. The manager then called the police and the couple was arrested. Each was charged with one count of felony fraud-obtaining money or property by false pretense.
According to CouponsInTheNews.com, police confiscated over 870 free product coupons worth over $8400! The couple admitted to buying the coupons online and they were apparently going from store to store trying to use the coupons.
Because of the increase in coupon fraud, many online sales sites have banned the sale of free product coupons, including ebay. Unfortunately, there are still people selling them on secret Facebook groups and personal websites. That may not last very long if couponers and fraudulent coupon sellers keep getting arrested.
Last month, a New Orleans man was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit trademark counterfeiting after creating and selling enough coupons to cost manufacturers over a million dollars! Three Arizona women have to pay over $1.2 million to P&G for selling fraudulent coupons for P&G products. One of the women is serving a 2-year sentence for the crime.
Coupon counterfeiting is serious business, but so is the fight against fraudulent coupons. If you are part of any of these secret Facebook groups, often known as glitch groups, think twice about taking advice from those who are using fraudulent coupons or using coupons in ways they are not intended to be used. According to the CouponsInTheNews article, Jane Beauchamp, Brand Technologies president says, “The fraudsters are being watched, both online and in retail establishments. And they will be arrested, as is evident from the North Carolina case.”
If you see a coupon that is too good to be true, it probably is. Unless a free product coupon comes directly from the manufacturer or is in the Sunday newspaper coupon inserts, it is probably not legit. As we all know, using coupons wisely is an excellent way to save a lot of money. Using them legally is also an excellent way to stay out of jail.