Fraud in the news

Counterfeit coupons, fake EU COVID-19 certificates and more

‘Dark-side’ coupon scheme cheats retailers out of millions

A tip from Walgreens to authorities in Montgomery County, Texas, about customers using fake coupons led to the arrest of three people for theft.

The suspects are allegedly connected to a group of 87 individuals across 23 states who’ve scammed retailers with counterfeit coupons worth almost $10 million in everyday household items. (See “A ‘dark-side coupon group’ scammed stores out of millions, police say. ‘They were just going through the ink,’ " by Jaclyn Peiser, The Washington Post, July 2.) 

Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Tim Holifield described the scheme as a “dark-web or dark-side coupon group that is doing nothing but selling coupons that are fraudulently and sophistically made to resemble actual coupons by the manufacturers.”

Investigators discovered a website where customers could order the counterfeit coupons and identified possible conspirators via online marketplaces such as Facebook and Craigslist. Police raided four locations with printers supposedly identical to ones that retailers use. 

Diapers, antiseptic wipes, toothpaste and dog food totaling $40,000 were seized in the raid, and those items have been donated to charities.

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