Stores and supermarkets across the UK have been having to go to the police to deal with frauds that have been occurring in their stores. The economic climate has meant that more stores than ever are issuing money off codes so that people are tempted to spend more in store. This has lead to people making forgeries of the vouchers so that they can use them many times. Modern computer and printing technology has made this relatively easy.
The police announced that they cautioned a woman who had been using copies of the same voucher several times in the store. This entitled her to a significant amount of discount on her shopping. The use of self checkouts in the supermarkets has also lead to increased voucher fraud as staff are not present to check the vouchers validity.
Tesco have had the first prosecution completed for voucher fraud when a couple where found to be reusing the same voucher over and over again that entitled them to nearly £20 of each shopping trip. They were using the self checkout and when asked to hand in the voucher, they simply kept it. In the end it was found that they had received over £1,000 in free groceries.
It is estimated that the figure for voucher fraud per year is £300,000 and this has been increasing and speculation is that this is because people are facing harder economic times. One case has seen a large company loose over £80,000 internationally when it found that despite only issuing 8,000 coupons, they had claims of 50,000 usages.
Annie Smith of the Institute of Sales promotion has said, “It has become such a problem that some companies are considering stopping vouchers altogether. If people abuse the system all consumers are going to suffer in a time that vouchers are needed more than ever.”