Coupon Fraud At Publix – Cheaters Never Prosper!

cheaterMichelle shared a link over on my Facebook page that had a news story about a couple of folks who decided to cheat big time at Publix.

It seems that "They were making fraudulent coupons, altering coupons they found online. Making it so it wouldn't look odd to Publix."

Isn't that just dandy...and we wonder why stores are so critical of couponers?! Coupon fraud is rampant everywhere. I think this is a nice reminder to make sure and follow the rules so that our stores continue to offer a generous coupon policy.

I have seen so many stories about folks bending the rules and just flat out cheating. I am not naive, I know there will always be liars, thieves and cheaters in this world. I just wish they'd stay out of my favorite store - tee hee!

Feel free to comment and discuss. Have you witnessed any folks being less than honest?


  1. Jenni says

    It’s so sad, ESPECIALLY at a Publix, where as your site proves, it possible to save A LOT of money the right and honest way!

    • smon says

      Publix will never lose. They raise price some time up to 50 percent on items..they are not overseen by this corrupt govt so they are prospering. believe it.

    • Susan says

      Unfortunately, the CF News 13 story got it wrong (and maybe other news outlets too). He definitely wasn’t a manager. He was a Customer Service associate. A Team Leader, I think they’re called.

  2. Rebrekkable says

    Wow! That’s one of the stores I go to! I don’t recognize the woman, but I can certainly believe it would happen.

    The stores in my area are wonderful about couponers, so this is particularly frustrating; I simply hope that this group of people doesn’t make it even more difficult for those of us who coupon honestly!

      • Ashley says

        Woah! That is my Publix! I hope this doesn’t affect how they treat couponers – I normally only spend $30 at a time a couple times a month, with coupons in tow.

      • Jones410 says

        I am in Melbourne, and cringed when I heard the story. Then my 5 yr comes out and saw the mugs shots on the news. He recognized her as his classroom mom 2yrs ago – her daughter was in his class 2yrs in a row. I spent the afternoon explaining to him that we do not break the rules when couponing and it is ok. Not a conversation I ever thought I’d have to have and I fell bad for her daughters.

    • Melissa says

      This is also one of the Publix’s I go to and one my mom shops at regularly. It’s never worth trying to cheat to get ahead. It always comes back to you.

  3. Jess says

    I’ve seen it so many times on this site! I quit reading most couponing forums and comments on blog posts because of this. The common justification “my store let me, so..” comes up way too much. It’s still wrong. Play by the rules. You get great deals without cheating. 😉

    • Jess says

      Just read the article-

      “They would donate the food to local churches or food pantries with the intent, I believe, to be looked at high in the community,” Romano said.


    • Rachel says

      I agree 100%. I quit reading comments and doing the forums (facebook local groups, etc). Always an excuse why they did it or “I guess I didn’t read the coupon correctly” after they just got 50 of the item as moneymakers. People are either too stupid to coupon the right way or have no moral/ethical standards. Makes me mad.

      • Jess says

        Oh, I’m almost positive that they know exactly what they’re doing. Couponing becomes an addictive illness like any other. Searching for that next savings high, it becomes impossible to resist. Imagine the temptation to an addicted person with failing self control and morals. Just manipulating this coupon a little bit (“It won’t anyone and the cashier totally let me do it!”) would make such an amazing deal. (“Besides, I’m going to DONATE it!! I’m really doing good!”) After it works the first time, why not try it again with another? It’s wrong and very sad, but they’ll do it as long as they can get away with it.

        • shawn says

          Based on the fact that the story said about the coupons “the vast majority were fake, created on a computer with some simple software.”

          They knew exactly what they were doing, but I have a feeling, as someone had mentioned here as well, that they liked the rush of the deal and figure’d their actions weren’t as bad as they were because they were giving the food away.

          Note that I’m not saying that is right, I’m just thinking that’s where their illegal brain may have been going.

          Again it’s a shame because it hurts those of us that take the time and do it right (and legally).

          • Jess says

            I was talking about fraudulent coupon use posted about on online blogs/forums, not the article specifically. Those arrested DEFINITELY knew what they were up to! It seems that many couponers out there like to justify misuse and hoarding with donations, so I’m sure it’s the same for the people in the article. Very sad!

    • Susan says

      I agree that “the cashier allowed it” is lame when you knowingly use a coupon incorrectly. Is the grocery competition the same in Tampa as it is in Tifton? Of course not. Managers have wide discretion to accept or reject coupons that are presented. Many want this to be a black/white issue and it just isn’t. The fools in this story were counterfeiting and presenting fraudulent coupons. That’s a far cry from someone who asks a manager to accept a Publix coupon that is 1 or 2 days expired because the last time they were in the store to get the item, the store was out of stock. To this day, some stores will accept it and some just won’t. Manager discretion.

  4. Patricia Hyson Collins says

    A fb friend added me to a group here last week. I saw a post from the moderator saying it was ok to pass off a Carefree coupon for 36 count on the 20 count if you didn’t get caught! I unjoined immediately!!!!

  5. Blue says

    Well it should have been OBVIOUS that it was a scam. I’ve never been able to use that many coupons at ANY store, let alone Publix.

  6. Shayelyn says

    I believe that is why when the Target coupons states ‘one coupon or offer per guest’ that Publix adheres to that. All things like this do is make it harder for the honest people using coupons to be able to use coupons. Also all things like this do is force Publix not to accept competitor coupons. Was it worth the arrests, the embarrassment and the loss of your job, really?

  7. william says

    As for the food, investigators said they gave it away.
    “They would donate the food to local churches or food pantries with the intent, I believe, to be looked at high in the community,” Romano said.

    People are crazy. All that work of ripping off Publix to just give it all away.

  8. Mary says

    Does anyone know who this couponer is? There are several in FL and I want to quickly get rid of this one from my Facebook, links, etc.

  9. Hannah says

    This is so sad. I try my best to coupon honestly. Last week I made a boo-boo, I didn’t realize the cashier entered a coupon twice. I was watching, but it didn’t register until after I was done. I asked customer service to adjust it and let me pay the $1. I still feel really awful about it. I don’t want to be a thief, I want to be honest! Publix is AWESOME, and I consider them a friend, I wouldn’t steal from anyone, ESPECIALLY my friend!!

      • Mr Steven Edward Rodier says


  10. tryingtomakeendsmeetfor5 says

    I would like to point out that the woman apparently purchased hundreds of $$$ worth of gift cards with the overage from the fraudulent coupons that she used. This was definitely not a Robin Hood type of act to give to the needy by stealing from publix, this was pure greed.

    “Romano said cashiers must manually type in the coupon codes during the transactions Bailey would buy hundreds of dollars in gift cards to avoid any red flags”.

    I read publix related blogs, too, but it makes me furious when I read about people bragging how they intentionally got away with something on a large scale. One lady posted that she obtained 40 facebook IPs by hacking into 40 facebook accounts of her friends from one computer in order to use 2 different IPs for overage at gas card week. Other coupon misuse of 20 like coupons in several transactions gets played down by comments like “oh I didn’t know it was not meant for xyz, I guess I need reading glasses”

  11. kelvin says

    The story needs more details of how the target coupons are being altered or used. I use Target coupons often at Publix. The manager said Target coupon of $2.50 is too much. NO IT IS NOT!. I often found Target coupons for $3 or $4 on razor blades. Currently, there is a $2 off per pack of GE bulb. A pack of $2.09 is the lowest I found on the one I need.

    Maybe the manager doesn’t know that there are such high value coupons from Target. If this lady didn’t create her own Target coupons, then she printed it from Target’s site. That is not fraud.

    If she was being honest about these Target coupons then Publix is opening itself to get sued. Maybe this manager needs to understand better and doesn’t make comments such “$2.50 off. That is just too much money off on one item, because they are usually about that much,” Romano said.
    Other coupons promised $5 off meat or seafood.”

    Although I have never looked if there is $5 off meat or seafood but I would think this is a possibility. Publix has $2 off meat/seafood before.

    This manager at Publix doesn’t know in depth of extreme couponing. If he is basing his comments on what he thinks it should be, furthermore getting police involve, he is setting up for a lawsuit. The writer of this story needs to give more details.

    • Hannah Fortune says

      I think that they may have with held what was ACTUALLY being purchased with that $2.50/1 coupon. Maybe it was BOGO crackers, or snack items. You normally DON’T see coupons in those denominations for those items. After all, they said that was about how much the item cost, razors don’t cost $2.50 out right.

      • kelvin says

        The article is needed to be written better and with more details. There are some items on clearance that my Target coupon value exceeded the price of the item. As we all well known that there are many times that mfr coupons have value exceed the value of items. That’s called overage. I can almost say it for certain that I found GE light bulb pack on sale or clearance that was under $2 a pack. Yet, Target has a GE bulb pack coupon for $2 off.

        • Linda says

          How odd that you focus on the police officers lack of knowledge about coupon values and not the POINT of the story: that people were scamming the store for tens of thousands of dollars. Give the cop a break, he has more important things to do like catching these creeps.

          • kelvin says

            I focused on the cop because the comment he made about $2.50 Target coupon. From the story by Fox and the quote, it showed he lacked understanding about couponing. He should not had made that comment. With the limited information the article posted here, his comment that got quoted showed that he needs to catch up on Target coupons. As I said, if the ladies did wrong by faking coupons, they should be punished. Again, my comment about the detective was purely on the article and the quote of his. tryingtomakeendsmeetfor5 posted another article with details. I now see that the ladies were wrong. But that doesn’t excuse the detective from making such ignorance comment about Target coupon value.

  12. Whit says

    Interesting article, but may I just be negative for a second and say that it is so poorly written. x.x There are some parts I cannot even understand. Periods and commas are your friends.

    • Karina says

      I was thinking the same. When you do the math $1,000/20 = 50 transactions for the manager. $20,000/$600 = 33.33 transactions for the forger. Perhaps they should had a couponer proof the article (or someone that would check the math too. I doubt that they came up with $10,000 of real coupons to make the numbers work. $600 x 50 = $30k – $20k fake = $10k real?)

      Criminal act coupled with shotty article = bad news for us.

  13. kelvin says

    On previous post, Antonio Romano is a detective not store manager, my bad. Also, what does it have to do with donate items or not? Is this a requirement to shop at Publix, customers have to state what they are buying the products for? A new policy? I hope this lady didn’t do anything wrong and can sue both Publix and the detective for the fault arrest. If she digitally changed the coupon and its values, then she should be punished accordingly. But for a detective to say $2.50 value of coupon is too much, he needs to understand his job better. People like him who doesn’t have good understanding about coupons and offers, make lives of couponers unnessesary harder.

    • True says

      I agree with Kevin , now the cashiers are going to be extremely difficult to deal with , it’s bad as it is , now it will get worst for couponers …darn

  14. Stacey says

    Very sad, and right in my back yard!!!! This is the exact reason that stores are being so stern with couponers… Just frustrating that we strive to do it correctly and they feel they can get away with being scandalous. This is prob why Winn Dixie is only taking 1 coupon for B1G1 now urggggg makes me mad.

    • kelvin says

      Thank you for the link. Ok, that is wrong and she (and her mother) should be punished. The original article by FOX was so poorly written, lacked of details. So Publix employee is in on it. Sad.

  15. Laura says

    Several months ago target had a $1/1 angel soft I printed. At the store a customer offered me a target coupon that said $4 off angel soft. It was a very badly done fake, someone had not only changed the $1 to a 4 but they also changed the exp date to make it like 4 months longer. They typed a new date in a different font and didn’t even line it up so it looked slanted in the box. Then made a ton of copies. It looked terribly phony, I would not have tried to pass it for anything. She had a stack of probably 30-40 and offered them to everyone on the aisle.

    Later I ended up behind her at checkout, she had a full cart of AS 12 packs that were on sale for $5 and to my shock the cashier accepted the phony looking coupons for every one. Didn’t question the look of them, the # of them, the $ amount, didn’t call the mgr, just accepted them without hesitation.

    They looked so bad I had thought it’d be like trying to pay with monopoly money that she’d never get away with it so I just minded my own business at the time. If I had a do-over I’d have taken the one she gave me immediately to cust serv and told them to go alert the cashiers not to take them.

    My store now only accepts one target coupon per transaction but that’s their new policy that just began a few weeks ago.

    • kelvin says

      I usually use one or two target coupons with my transactions. I use two because of BOGO. I have never had any problem using it. I usually check out at the customer service when they are not busy because manager usually have to overwrite it as I have more coupons than items.

      • Sam says

        I’m sure different managers in different areas treat things differently (I’m in a heavily couponed area in Central Florida so my managers are a bit more strict), but I think Publix policy is to go by the wording on the Target coupon, which limits coupons to one per customer…This restriction is specifically stated on the Target coupon itself, and Publix only accepts competitor coupons according to the restrictions on the coupon, as per their policy:

        “Acceptance is subject to any restrictions on the coupon and we reserve the right to limit quantities.”

        • says

          Actually Target’s policy means one coupon per product(even though it may seem to read-one customer)Hope this helps.(also,with a mfr coupon,makes it 2 coupons per products if you have them for stacking).Hope I read your response correctly. :)

  16. Tee says

    This is so disappointing. Most of us abide by our stores coupon policies. I double and triple check my coupons to be sure there is no problems. Hopefully these people don’t ruin it for other Publix couponers.

  17. Jackie says

    Recently when I tried to use pasta coupon it wouldn’t go through and the cashier said she had to call a manager over…normally they would just type it in but they’ve changed at my store and I’m glad they’re really checking each coupon. BTW my coupon was fine and I was able to use it.

  18. LynnerdSkinnerd says

    I don’t notice any fraud, but what I do not like are those who show up with way more than their fair share of coupons and deplete the stock. But that’s just a rudeness/selfishness-thing not fraud. I like a good deal, but I try to leave enough on the shelf for other people while still scoring a good deal (and a little stockpile) for myself.

  19. Irene says

    Just worries me with people like that in the long run Publix will change their
    Policy and just like other stores to protect themselves. Which will make it
    harder on honest people that use coupons to help their family and others while
    time are difficult.

    If the coupon is over a certain amount they have to get manager approval at
    our Publix store too.

  20. ayelet johnson says

    that is a shame and publix is really good to let us use competitor coupons. Publix always have good deal. is this kind of people that ruin it for everybody. the fact that we can use 2 coupons on one item is just amazing.(mf+lu or competitor). I never with my whole transaction doing the years felt comfortable taking money from Publix if I know that I have overage i always grab toilet paper or something just to make sure I pay some. god bless Publix . when shopping is always a pleasure.

  21. briana says

    Obviously they should all be charged if they were in fact forging coupons, but I am also very irritated with the obvious lack of couponing knowledge the detective has. Saying that 2.50 for a coupon is just too much is ridiculous. They should have had someone with couponing experience comment on the article. Currently looking through targets online available coupons I am finding 10+ coupons worth $2 or more and that’s just the first 5 or 6 pages of 17 worth of coupons!

    • Doug says

      You are So Right Stuff Like this Story and Like the Walmart gals that Were Wrongly charged is what makes it hard to coupon. All of my coupons are from inserts and coupon Sites but. What to stop a cop that Knows nothing about Couponing to think I have to many And It must be Fraud.I’m not sure But What is the prof the manager was in on it. Because he took it. Like they should no ever Q

  22. Crystal says

    I used to know this woman (the shopper with children in the article), hard to believe she would do this, I heard about it right after her arrest. From the story I’ve heard, this is actually a very sad story. She apparently did this out of desperation and need rather than greediness. Not that I at all think it is right, but just thought I should put out there that there is a lot more to the story and I know there are legal issues around it and it’s not my business, so I can’t talk about all the details I’ve heard. But it is very sad, and she should have found a better way out of her situation than this.

    • I know her personally says

      no, she isn’t desperate for money. not at all. they are doing very well for themselves.

      Even if that were the case. There are resources in our area to help you with that.

      • Jamie says

        What bullshit!!! That girl has been doing this for years and claiming to be some holy roller that even taught a coupon class at her church. That “B” was getting thousands of dollar in gift cards probley every week!!! I am sure she is going to try and talk herself out if this one!!! Poor Cristian girl got caught up in Satans coupons!!! Ohh no!!!

  23. Thom1977 says

    I have two issues. First, those people are terrible! We all know theives make it harder for honest couponers to work. I hate that they cheated the system. I hate it more for the fact that it will be at our expense.
    The bigger issue I have is with the reporting. I really wish the news would stop associating the art of couponing with these theives. Also, the Detective needs an intro to iheartpublix. He would learn there are several legitimate transactions where you leave owing nothing OR receive a refund. That isn’t the tell-tale sign that I am a cheater! Plus, a $2.50 coupon is not uncommon. I just went to Target today and had a $4.00 manufacturer and $4.00 store coupon for an item. These were legitimate coupons.
    I don’t know how to stop people from cheating the system. I can only make sure that I (and the people that I talk to) know about responsible couponing!

  24. remee says

    this lady with children is married to an engineer and has no need for scamming to get what she needs. she always finds a way to get what she wants. this is only about greed! she will never have enough money, stuff or anything else. she does not care about anyone but herself and deserves an academy award for the way she works “her church”. she uses it for protection.

    • Toni says

      I’m married to an engineer too, but we still have a need, but there is no way will I ever resort to creating or accepting fraudulent coupons. Times are hard, but they are not that hard. There is always someone else off worse than you. Some think we are well off, but they are not looking at the big picture that we have over $4700 worth of expenses a month too. I’m just saying let not pass judgment on this individual, because we don’t really know what was going through her head. **No, I don’t know her personally, nor live in that part of FL.

  25. Heather says

    This is not shocking, at all. There is a number of “couponers” who make the fake target coupons in Palm Bay and Melbourne. A friend of mine TOLD Publix about them a year ago and nothing was done about it. She bought proof (the Target website on her phone and original coupon) to the specific store and showed that they were altering coupons. However, the store manager wouldn’t do anything about it. Instead! They were rude to her when she went in to coupon there.

  26. Doug says

    OMG this is Old news this was Like 3 weeks ago.. This Reminded me of the Walmart gals That “Hand All the coupons in there Car And Got Money back” And Was Arrested Further looking at the cased They were Wrongly Arrested.. They were Valid coupons And the money they were getting back Was the Walmart policy..

  27. Ih8fraud says

    There’s man in Coral Springs preaching this very thing “well, my store let me”. What’s worse is he has made his way on to CNN and GMA because he gives to the homeless. Robin Hood my a$$

  28. says

    I hate it when people use fraudelent coupons. It makes it look bad for those of us who try to do the right thing. There is a group in my area that somehow are also using coupons that I know are fraudlent. ex: $15.00 off a ham. It makes me mad when I hear of it.

    • Sierra Opare says

      They would never make it through my line lol!!!! I’m called the coupon police by my manager;) Proud of it too! 😀

  29. Sierra Opare says

    I honestly have to say that I appreciate all of the honest couponers. I am a cashier at Publix and I use coupons myself. It makes my blood boil when people come through my line and try to use coupons that are obviously for the wrong item, copied, and even altered ones. I’ve been couponing so long, I know what to look for and I just stand there when the person challenges me like I am stupid. They get frustrated when I say that I CANNOT ACCEPT a coupon that plainly states that the item that they are trying to buy is EXCLUDED. I never argue with them but people seriously get out of hand and ruin it for the people who follow the rules. Greed. So sad, because these people have kids, work for the state, are teachers. I love saving money but I would never STEAL. That’s what they are doing! Trying to steal from us in plain sight! So angry about it!

  30. TheresaQ says

    Wow, some people really are lowlifes. The vast majority of us work our tails off to save money with coupons. These greedy criminals hurt all of us that are doing the right thing.

  31. Donna says

    The thing makes me sick. We try so hard to coupon and be ethical and then this comes out. So sad for all of us.

  32. Diana says

    Everyone needs to follow the rules. Everyone in my house has a computer and when i want extra of a coupon i like i make them get it for me. U r allowed 2 per computer. The. Miami Herald puts the Sunday coupons in on Saturday as well and it is only 1 dollar so i buy extra on Saturday so i always have enough coupons . It sure beats paying 2 on Sunday and i save more then I spend on the newspaper.

  33. says

    A teen who works at one of our Publix’s told me they had a lady who’d clearly been copying coupons and buying Many products with them,.Finally the store mgr informed her this was illegal and she could not do it at their store anymore.Now if ALL the stores caught on.I did tell my store mgr about this lady so they’d be aware.(shelves were emptied at all stores locally whenever a great deal was on!)I do love my Publix!(all of them,just a G-Mom sayin’…lol)

  34. Danielle says

    People like this make me so mad. I try to do everything I can to error on the side of caution and probably end up spending more than I have. I love this site..I used to use a different site until I realized that the match ups were listing coupons that were not for the right things and the owners had no problems using the wrong coupons. I am so thankful for everything I can save. Greedy people like this ruin it for so many others

  35. Michelle says

    I’m glad everyone at my Publix knows me and knows I am a couponer. I would hate to think that they would think I was doing this. They are used to me bringing in a pile of q’s, and they still let me use 2 Target q’s on BOGO (so far).

    (I was getting ready to say that as bad as the flyers/sales have been lately, I might need to start doing this, but I’m sure some on here wouldn’t get that it was a joke.)

  36. Teri says

    That is why I follow your blog Michelle, and hip2save: I know that both of you are honest, and don’t try to game the system. Coupons are the best food subsidy out there, and it only works if done with integrity. I cringe when bloggers offer deals that are known to not be the deal intended by the vendor or merchant. Thanks for being a blog that I can trust. Thanks!!!!

    • Teri says

      Just a side note. If I print coupons from and use them within two hours, they come up fraudulent. They don’t have time to get into everyone’s system. I now print my coupons at least four hours before a shopping trip. No worries. The manager at a Publix helped me figure that out. They always accept my cpns, and are polite about it, WalMart is rude – can’t they question guests and still be professional, forget pleasant…I would settle for professional. Anyway, another post for another time.

  37. johnnie says

    this is so sad this is so my fav store, they are so kind and nice at this store
    i also remembering seeing this guy he was always looking very suspicious to me when i came in like he was spaced out or something. i hope they don’t change anything.

  38. Kristin says

    One time I was trying to get the most “life” out of my color print cartridge – so I kept printing even thought the colors were really faded – some not even showing up. I presented a couple of coupons printed with the old cartridge and the cashier looked at them and said I was not allowed to copy coupons – I explained they were not copied – but that the color cartridge was almost out of ink. She looked really hard at them then nodded – I was glad she was diligent – and we had a really good conversation about coupons and fraud while she continued to check me out. But since then – I now change my cartridge before it gets that bad.

  39. Nopers says

    Play by the rules??? Is that why you advocate people entering in zip codes other than where they live in order to get the best coupons on the on-line services? Don’t be a hypocrit!

    • Heather says

      Not really positive you can compare making fraudulent coupons to printing coupons from another zip code.

      I buy the Orlando Sentinel instead of the Florida Today but live in Brevard County. Is that wrong? I also purchase inserts that come from like Washington but I live in Florida? Fraud?

      I don’t think so. Good job trying to stir the pot though.

  40. Jennifer says

    Working at Publix & seeing the: “7$ off one oral B battery toothbrush” coupon trying to purchase the 6.99$ one… The coupon is for the 40-50$ toothbrush. All types of fraud out there :( We c.service rep’s are pushed to read the coupons thoroughly so that we can get reimbursed. I coupon as well & given customers that like to “cheat” or pawn coupons off with the similar but wrong item, make it hard for me as well.

  41. publixcashier says

    I work at a Publix in Alabama, and this has been an issue lately. Most of the time the cashiers are notified by the managers if there has been a “surge” in the use of fraudulent coupons. We are also trained to look for certain “key” features of coupons that can be altered, such as the amount. Jennifer is right-many customers who use fake coupons either try to pass off the wrong item for a deal or use coupons worth more than the item.
    The problem is that it is ultimately up to the cashier to decide whether or not the coupon is valid and whether or not to accept it.
    If a cashier looks less than happy about checking you out with a bunch of coupons, it is usually because we have to go through each and every coupon and make sure it isn’t fake and that the items you purchased match up with the items you purchased, which becomes very tedious with extremely large orders.

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