Talk about extreme couponing! Three women in Arizona were arrested recently for selling counterfeit coupons— a lot of counterfeit coupons.
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Last week, the Associated Press reported that three middle-aged women in Phoenix were busted by police for involvement in an enormous counterfeit couponing ring. The scene at these homes, which sounds like something out of a rap video, indicates that the women, in their 40s and 50s, were hardly your prototypical thrifty coupon clippers. The women allegedly purchased the fake coupons overseas and then resold them at eBay and sites such as savvyshoppersite. You should not advertise that you have purchased any coupon. However, there are not any laws that prohibit the sale or purchase of coupons.
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Manufacturers do not endorse or authorize the sale of their coupons. If Wattigney is in fact proven to be ThePurpleLotus, he won't be the first to be caught spoofing coupons en masse.
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Nor was the PurpleLotus the last to try the coupon scheme. Though ThePurpleLotus and TheGoldenLotus accounts have been inactive for months—and at one point last year the ThePurpleLotus announced his "retirement" on the Silk Road 2 forums—other coupon counterfeiters like a group calling itself Team Lotus have taken his place on dark web markets like Agora.
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ThePurpleLotus was perhaps the first to move the coupon fraud economy under the cover of the Dark Web's anonymity. Given those protections, including the anonymity software Tor and the crypotocurrency bitcoin, it's still not clear exactly how Wattigney was even identified. His indictment only alludes to the FBI recovering "transaction histories and private message communications" from the Silk Road when it was taken down and its administrator Ross Ulbricht arrested in the fall of Unlike other Silk Road sellers, who shipping physical contraband ranging from heroin to cocaine to guns, Wattigney's transactions may seem relatively benign: mere counterfeit images and software tools.
But he nonetheless enabled a gargantuan series of petty thefts, argues Brand Technologies' Beauchamp. Getty Images.
Before-and-after shots of counterfeit coupon creation from a tutorial sold by ThePurpleLotus. View Comments.
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