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The Boston Globe reports that Hannaford Bros., Shaws, and Price Chopper - three of New England's leading supermarket chains - have become so skittish about counterfeit coupons that they have instituted new redemption policies.

While none of the chains said they've suffered major losses because of counterfeit coupons, spokesmen for the companies said they are trying to avoid significant problems in the future. All three said that they "have stopped accepting manufacturers' coupons that appear to be computer generated and offer free products, discounts greater than $5, or have bar codes that don't scan properly," the Globe reports.

Stop & Shop, another major New England chain, said that it has not made any policy changes but is monitoring the situation.

Coupon fraud has become a major problem in the industry. The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) estimate coupon fraud is costing $500 million to $800 million annually - in part because improved copying technologies and the Internet have made it easier to produce and distribute counterfeit coupons.
KC's View:
The clear message that the industry needs to keep enforcing is that this is about counterfeiting, not about Internet coupons. To throw out the baby with the bathwater seems like an absurd reaction.