The Phoenix New Times has a new story with additional details about the coupon counterfeiting ring that was busted yesterday. One of the suspects arrested “claimed she didn’t know the operation was illegal.” From the article:
The coupon scam emerged over four years ago, as high-quality counterfeit copies of authentic manufacturer coupons began to surface across the country, according to police.
Phoenix Police arrested Marilyn Johnson, 61, Robin Ramirez, 40, and Amiko Fountain, 42, for their alleged involvement in the counterfeit coupon scam. The three suspects look like they should’ve been a part of a friendly group of coupon collectors — not a massive scam. But this was no neighborhood hobby club, police say.
The coupons were printed elsewhere, brought to Arizona, and the women would sell access to their phony coupons through the websites.
Fountain was responsible for the storage, distribution, and construction of the coupons. She admitted her role in the scheme but claimed she didn’t know the operation was illegal, records show. Police arrested Johnson for running a satellite website of Savvyshoppersite.com called Amenglishmastiffs.com.
The women presented the sites as legitimate but asked customers not to advertise the coupons, and they requested that the customers use the site only after approved referrals.
During yesterday’s press conference, the police mentioned a spinoff site selling SavvyShopperSite’s counterfeit coupons too, which was now named in this story as Amenglishmastiffs.com.
If you read the disclaimers on Amenglishmastiffs.com, it’s simply stunning. Note how the author slams the fake coupons on Ebay and advises using these coupons at “smaller chain and independent stores.”
I caution you to protect this information and only share with trusted and honest people who will not abuse or misuse these items. Please do not share this information with people that you don’t actually know. This includes forums and any public viewing areas or websites.
All of these coupons are original and have been obtained directly from each respective manufacturer.
When dealing with coupons, it is useful to know there are crooks making fakes of almost all coupons. The biggest culprit of spreading fakes is eBay.
If too many fakes begin to circulate, the manufacturer alerts the stores and tells them they are all fakes. They can’t expect the stores to know what is real or not, so they tell them not to take any. This seems to occur mostly at the “big-box stores” like Walmart, PetSmart and PetCo, so they are on more often on high alert. Smaller chain and independent stores seem to take the coupons with no problem.
If you are ever told your coupons are fakes, be prepared to stand your ground. Tell the store personnel your coupons come directly from the manufacturer, and are 100% legitimate. Never let them intimidate or harass you, or take your coupons from you. They have no right and are probably on a little power trip of their own.