ST. LOUIS, MO. (KTVI) - Millions of dollars in fraudulent coupons are being passed off to stores every year. Some are so sophisticated; even employees have a tough time telling real from fake.
Chadd Salter, Manager of Investigations with Schnucks says "it seems like they're coming out daily. It's non stop."
Stores are seeing more fake coupons show up at their registers more than ever before. The counterfeiters are not necessarily the ones trying to use them at the store or supermarket. Salter says "unfortunately the consumer may not even know they have a counterfeit coupon". Many look and feel like the real thing.
"It's something we're on the lookout for. We're always trying to educate our checkers in the stores. We try and tell them to look at the feel of the coupon, the look of the coupon, the dollar amount of the coupon," says Salter.
It's not just 50 cents here, a dollar there; sometimes it makes the items free. "A lot of the ones you see are for free items, expensive, one we’ve seen recently is a Tide coupon for a Tide product that’s over $20 and the coupon is for $15 off. It's not something we can redeem and it ends up hurting us."
So how can you be sure your coupon is real? Salter says, "stick with the basics, your Sunday papers, your manufacturer's website, the weekly mailers and again if looks too good to be true, it probably is."
Schnucks officials say if you're unsure if a coupon is real, stop by customer service and they'll take a look at it for you.