Coupon fraud protection

The fraudulent practice is quite a big problem for website owners and partners. The online service must be secure enough to protect business against fraudulent attempts to falsify the coupon. While coupons have "no cash value", somebody still may try to get the deal without paying for the coupon.

How will the vendor identify fraudulent coupons or attempts to use the same coupon multiply?

The following tools provided by Getsocio are used to prevent coupon fraud scenario from occurring:

Recipient's name – full name of the person who is supposed to use the coupon (it is either the name of the customer or the name of the friend, whom customer purchased the coupon for);
Coupon code – a unique combination of digits. The number is generated randomly, so it is hard to guess;
Barcode/QR-code – an optical machine-readable representation of the coupon code. When scanning the barcode/QR-code, the scanner will recognize it as the coupon code (numbers with hyphen listed in the top right corner of coupon);
Verification code – a unique combination of digits that is assigned to a certain coupon. This code is needed when vendor marks the coupon as used (to prevent the wrong coupon to be marked as used).

The vendor can get the list of sold coupons in three ways:

receive from admin – the website admin downloads the list of coupons on a relevant deal and sends it directly to the vendor;
download manually – if the vendor is signed up to the site and his/her user role is changed to Vendor, then the vendor will have access to Deals page of Admin section, where he/she can download the coupons list themselves;
receive automatically by email – if the option Email items details to vendor under Email tab of Settings page is enabled, then an email with coupons list will be sent to the vendor when the deal is over (to get an email the vendor should be assigned with the user account).

When customer comes to the vendor office to redeem the coupon, vendor will need to verify it. The verification can be manual (simple comparison of the coupon code brought with the coupon code in the list) or automatic (with the help of scanner that will scan the barcode).

In addition to the regular coupon code check, for the expensive deals it may be reasonable for the vendor to request an official form of identification document from the coupon handler to prevent fraudulent activity.

However, there are cases when vendors do not pay much attention to coupon check. Say, the customer pays on the site only for a coupon that gives certain discount, and for the services/goods he/she pays directly to the vendor. In this situation it may not matter to the vendor if this coupon was forged or not, because vendor will still receive money for the deal.