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Tips of the Trade - 'TOT' This board is for discussions and questions about trading of coupons, refunding forms, and grocery store deals you may find at such places as Rite Aid, Walgreens, CVS, Kroger, ShopRite, Pathmark, Giant Eagle and printable SmartSource coupons. This board is also where RAOK (Random Acts of Kindness) posts are located.

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Old 02-26-2007, 06:49 PM
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annadrose annadrose is offline
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Cheating Couponer Bad for All of Us

This dirty so and so makes it harder for all of us to redeem coupons. Her picture should be posted in the stores.

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/new...ND+%22fraud%22


Woman charged in coupon scheme finally out of business
By Susan Weich
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
02/23/2007

UPDATE at 4:50 p.m.:

An O'Fallon woman accused of running a counterfeit coupon operation out of her home apparently tried to keep selling items on eBay after she was charged, but by this afternoon, she was was out of business.
Cynthia Madej, 40, is facing 14 counts of felony forgery after police raided one of her garage sales and discovered thousands of items in their original packaging. Authorities had been tipped off by a suspicious shopper.

Police said that in addition to garage sales, Madej sold items on eBay that she got with the fake coupons and also sold the coupons online.

AdvertisementMadej, had been doing business as *********** since May 2001, participating in more than 1,250 auctions on eBay in that time. Late Thursday she changed her user name to ************ and was listing items for sale, but by about 1 p.m. Friday, she was no longer a registered user.

O'Fallon police said they had contacted eBay about Madej's activities and asked that she be barred from selling anything else.

Officials with eBay did not return a message about the case.

Police had not arrested Madej by late this afternoon. She could not be reached at her home for comment.

Authorities said Madej would obtain legitimate manufacturers coupons, then use her scanner and computer to print multiple fraudulent coupons.

During a search of Madej's home in the 200 block of Autumn Mist Place, police said they found numerous 8½-by-11-inch sheets of glossy paper printed with coupons. They found coupons for 14 different products including Huggies diapers, Crest toothpaste and mouthwash and Tide laundry detergent.

Bud Miller, executive director of the Coupon Information Center, said today that consumers should never buy coupons over the internet. His group, a not-for-profit association of manufacturers that issue coupons, focuses on organized crime and counterfeiting.

Virtually every coupon cannot be transferred, he said. And manufacturers increasingly are including wording that voids a coupon if it is auctioned.

“Of course, that's always a challenge to enforce at the point of sale,” Miller said.

Consumers who shop on websites like eBay, for example, should question where the seller is getting the product from, he said. If they see something suspicious, they should report it to authorities.

O'Fallon police Capt. David Balcom said it would be difficult to pursue charges against Madej for selling the items she got with the homemade coupons because authorities would have to track down the store where each item was purchased to identify the victim of the theft.

------------

Our earlier story:

O'FALLON, MO. — It seemed like a typical suburban garage sale, but something wasn't quite right: The items for sale were brand-new.

A tipster called police, who quickly got a search warrant and seized 2,100 items — including Huggies diapers and Crest toothpaste — that were still in their original packaging.

Police say the 40-year-old woman holding the garage sale, Cynthia S. Madej, got the products by running a counterfeit coupon operation with her home computer and a scanner.

Madej used the coupons to get free products and then sold the items at garage sales or over the Internet, police said. She also sold the forged coupons to unsuspecting customers on eBay using the member name "************," police said.

Madej was charged Thursday with 14 counts of felony forgery.

"She was under our radar until we got that tip," said O'Fallon police Capt. David Balcolm.

Madej was classified as a Powerseller on eBay, a distinction given to top sellers who sustain a consistently high volume of monthly sales and a high level of total feedback — with 98 percent or better positive rating by other eBay users. Madej's positive feedback was 100 percent, according to the website.

Her account was still active late Thursday and showed that she had participated in more than 1,250 auctions since she became an eBay member in May 2001.

Bud Miller, executive director of the Coupon Information Center, said Madej's case is significant because of the multiple felony counts issued and because she was believed to have counterfeited coupons with holograms on them. His group, a not-for-profit association of manufacturers that issue coupons, focuses on organized crime and counterfeiting.

Miller said coupon fraud has become such a big problem that a movement is under way to place an optical security device over the expiration date of every free-product coupon.

"We'll train retailers so they'll know exactly where to look for the security device so this type of crime hopefully will not be able to be committed in the future," he said.

Authorities said Madej would obtain legitimate manufacturers coupons, then use her scanner and computer to print multiple fraudulent coupons.

During a search of Madej's home in the 200 block of Autumn Mist Place, police said they found numerous 8½-by-11-inch sheets of glossy paper printed with coupons. They found coupons for 14 different products including Huggies diapers, Crest toothpaste and mouthwash, Tide laundry detergent, Pepsi, Lever soap and Swiffer products.

Also seized was the original Huggies coupon that Madej apparently used to scan and print 150 matching coupons for a free super mega pack. The serial numbers on the original coupon matched the printed coupons, but the expiration date had been altered, police said.

The regular retail price for the diapers is $20, police said, so the coupons seized totaled $3,000 in free merchandise on that product alone. Police said they did not know how long the scam was operating or how much money Madej netted.

Bail in the case has been set at $5,000 cash. Madej does not have a criminal history, according to court records. She was not in custody as of Thursday afternoon. A man who answered the phone at Madej's home said she was asleep, and he declined to comment.

sweich@post-dispatch.com | 636-255-7210
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Last edited by Suz; 02-26-2007 at 07:09 PM. Reason: Ebay user names are not permitted.
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Old 02-26-2007, 07:21 PM
snoopy24 snoopy24 is offline
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Wow sounds like she thought she really had something going their $3k in huggies diapers for free glad they caught her too bad one bad apple give the rest of us a bad rep ya know
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Old 02-26-2007, 09:54 PM
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mycology mycology is offline
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I wonder how many people will be questioning this years yard sales now,
thinking the items were bought with fake cpns?

Could you imagine the police coming to your sale and seizing it all?
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Old 02-26-2007, 09:57 PM
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jatalamo jatalamo is offline
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Disturbing because I sell lots of new items at my garage sale, things Ive gotten at Target, at the supermarket with coupons, etc. Everything legitimate, but someone could call the police on Me too??

Guess I better save my receipts!!
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Old 02-26-2007, 10:31 PM
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mom2miraj mom2miraj is offline
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I am sooooo happy they finally caught one of these ebay free coupon scammers. They have been on there for years and are so easy to find(multiples of the same high value frees, usually private feedback, etc), but it seemed like no one was doing anything about it. Bad thing is that people keep buying from them because they always have great feedback due to buying from each other and the fact that most people assume when they use a coupon and it scans, that they must have gotten a legit. coupon. I hope they start getting them all because it wouldn't be that hard. Of course along with the whole issue of it making people question stockpile garage sale it may also effect selling coupons on ebay(people may be leary of buyingor they may end it all together). I'm glad they are dong something, but it makes all of us look suspiscious even when we aren't doing anything wrong.
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  #6  
Old 02-26-2007, 10:40 PM
TerryTerrific TerryTerrific is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mycology
I wonder how many people will be questioning this years yard sales now,
thinking the items were bought with fake cpns?

Could you imagine the police coming to your sale and seizing it all?
I have about three yard sales a year and I have notihing to worry about (all my merchandise is new).

If anyone asks where I obtained all my stuff, I proudly mention by matching sales with coupons and also by doing rebates.

They usually reply, "Too much work."

+

"To each their own."

+

Terence in Brook Park, OH
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  #7  
Old 02-26-2007, 10:45 PM
TerryTerrific TerryTerrific is offline
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Arrow

I think that coupon issuers have to do a better job to battle counterfeiters.

+

Watermarks.

Q) Have you ever photocopied a high value manufacturer's cents off coupon (a high value coupon that was mailed to you from the sponsor)?

They usually add a watermark that really shows up if the original coupon is copied or scanned.

+

Terence in Brook Park, OH
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  #8  
Old 02-27-2007, 05:55 PM
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annadrose annadrose is offline
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All I know is that these people often put more work into their criminal activities when it would be less work to do it the legal way with no risk involved.

Hello???

And at least if I do it the legal way I can brag to my family, friends, and you guys. If I were stealing what's the point can't even brag about it.
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