By: Tom Cosgrove, Senior Manager, Industry Relations, FMI

Grocery Coupons

I can’t help but get excited for the holiday season. On TV, you see children opening gifts and adults surprising their spouses with outrageously expensive new vehicles with big bows. Some of the presets on my car’s radio have switched over to holiday music, as has the music in the grocery stores where I shop. Unfortunately, this time of year is also a happy time for criminals.

Fondly known as “Glitchmas” by criminals, many con artists take advantage of the chaos and staffing issues (new or temporary employees) during the holiday season. Retailers need to be extra vigilant this year as inflation and other economic challenges have increased the appeal of criminal activities. Stolen items are often resold creating unfair competition and further harming retailers. Here are a few tips that retailers can use to protect themselves:

  • Review transactions using large numbers of free product or high value coupons. It is unusual for a person to have more than a few of these rare coupons.
  • A coupon that scans for more than the printed amount is likely to be a counterfeit.
  • Verify that products match the written offer on the coupons.
  • Watch out and prevent product return fraud scams.

“Glitchmas” was a topic of conversation on our recent Joint Industry Coupon Council (JICC) call and keeps a few members of the council awake at night. Other topics discussed were returns fraud, improving the customer experience (around redeeming coupons), and protecting team members from the bad apples.

The JICC is a parity-based group that brings together retailers and suppliers from across the industry to develop a collaborative industry coupon process and network. If you are interested in participating in the Council, reach out to me to join in.

Contact Tom