With the explosion in popularity of printable coupons, you’ve no doubt seen the signs in the checkout lane and heard the conversations reminding folks that photocopied coupons are illegal. You may have wondered, however, how cashiers, consumers, and even coupon manufacturers can tell whether coupons are legitimate or photocopied. After all, don’t legitimately printed coupons and photocopied coupons look exactly alike? As a matter of fact, yes, they do. In fact, photocopied coupons look a little too much like legitimately printed coupons.
Here are two legitimately printed coupons. Both were printed on the same day, on the same computer, within seconds of each other. Notice, however, that each coupon has a different identification number (the one I circled in green) which not only identifies the coupon as being unique from other coupons, but also traces it back to the computer from which it was printed.
So this is how you spot legitimately printed coupons: they may all look the same, but each one will bear a unique identification number. If you see several coupons that all bear the same serial number, they were photocopied.