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“Qpon Johnson,” “Couponista Wanda,” “Imma DamnGood Couponer” – if you’re a couponer who uses Facebook, you’ve probably come across “coupon pseudonyms” such as these, and might even use one yourself. But you won’t find those particular names on Facebook anymore – because Facebook has deleted the accounts, along with dozens of others, and is investigating thousands more like them.

Nearly a year after it began deleting secret and closed coupon groups it determined were encouraging coupon fraud, Facebook is now taking aim at wayward couponers who use fake names.

It’s all part of an ongoing effort to combat fraud on the site, and hold users accountable by making them reveal their true identities.

Last September, in response to reports from investigators working on behalf of coupon issuers, Facebook shut down nearly a hundred coupon groups. Many were openly advocating coupon misuse, which violates Facebook’s rules against “promoting, planning or celebrating” actions that “could result in financial harm to others.”

Since those mass deletions, Facebook has continued to investigate coupon groups and continues to shut down some of the more egregious offenders. But now, it’s widening its scope to include not just groups, but individuals. Investigators say they’re in the process of flagging thousands of Facebook accounts with “coupon-centric” names, particularly those who are in coupon groups marked for deletion.

After recently shutting down one coupon group with more than 2,200 members, Facebook followed up by sending notices to 63 of the group’s members with clearly fictional names.

“Your account has been temporarily suspended because it looks like you’re not using your real name,” the notices read. “We require everyone to provide their full name so you always know who you’re connecting with.”

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A handful of flagged users complied, and changed their profiles. The rest had their “fake name” accounts deleted.

It’s always been Facebook’s policy to require users to use their “authentic identities.” But enforcement has been spotty. So, many coupon users have been known to set up secondary Facebook accounts, in order to avoid spamming their friends’ timelines with news about coupons and companies they’ve “liked”.

Others, however, set up fake Facebook identities in order to openly engage in coupon fraud.

In one group that was recently shut down, members freely shared tips on how to take advantage of so-called “glitches” in coupons, which allow them to scan on items for which they’re not intended. One member who asked how to get a good deal on paper towels, was told to “use the $3 Vidal Sassoon on a single roll of Bounty Basic, comes out free with overage!” Other group members advocated cutting off pictures and product descriptions from coupons, leaving only the bar code and fine print, in order to better sneak them past unsuspecting cashiers. If any cashiers “do happen to catch it, just say your husband cut them wrong,” one member suggested.

Comments like that, are now getting Facebook’s attention. And if those comments are coming from users with fake names, that’s now getting Facebook’s attention, too. “I think I may have ticked off some irate anti-extreme couponers,” one glitch group member complained after her “fake name” account was flagged.

Curiously, some Facebook coupon glitchers aren’t using fake names at all – they seem to have no qualms about sharing and discussing potential criminal activity while using their real names, linked to their personal Facebook profiles. “I want to try self check out because my Walmart cashiers have become very cautious and are sort of rude!” one member of a recently-deleted glitch group wrote, using what appeared to be her real name. “Any tips? I am wanting to glitch to donate items to people in need.”

Stealing from the rich to give to the poor – who knew Robin Hood was a couponer?

Just as long as he doesn’t go by the name “Robin Couponista Savesalot”. Because Facebook is watching – and soon, couponers who would rather hide behind a false Facebook identity instead of using their real name, may no longer have a choice.

Background photo by frankieleon

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11 Comments

  1. Yet the lady that runs this so called blog, has so many names it’s not even funny…. This woman needs to get a flipping life…

  2. if FB spent the amount of time shutting down child/animal abusers, dog fighters or other accounts showing such abuse….. hmmm which is more important?????

  3. I believe this will cause stores to eventually just quit using paper coupons altogether. I imagine they’ll use digital coupons and/or store coupons like HEB. It makes me sad that coupons have lost so much value in the last 5 years and it’s because of people like this. I also don’t promote selling items. Donations are one thing, but donating using a glitch is absolutely absurd! What are we teaching our children? I’ve never heard of such craziness.

  4. I believe you can resell IF you have a resale certificate and file the proper tax forms at the end of the year. I have also heard that in Florida you can resell up to 600.00 a year but am not sure. Would love to find out the actual facts of reselling.

  5. I guess all of my “firends” with the first or last name of Ibotta on the Ibotta Friends group will be getting blocked.

  6. I do the same. I 100% agree with you!

  7. They should also look into ppl selling items they purchased with coupons these items were “free” and this is illegal. I coupon and it makes me look bad bc ppl just think I’m doing it to turn and sell it for a profit which is not true. I do it to save money for my family.

  8. I wonder how many coupon scammers r gonna try the Vidal Sassoon/ Bounry trick? These types of people give us honest couponers a bad name!

  9. It’s not just couponers, it is anyone with a name that doesn’t appear to be a “normal” first and last name. 2 of my friends in the last month have been locked out of their accounts, had to email Facebook their legal i.d.’s and then Facebook reset their accounts under their real names. They can’t change it for 6 months, either.

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