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Fake $5 Off Target Coupons

by Brett M. Christensen

Email forward claims that attached $5 off Target coupons can be printed and continually used until October 2008.


Subject: Re: $5 Target CouponsI just got this email and haven’t tried them yet but who doesn’t spend $25 a trip at Target between now and October. Even if you just buy paper products and house hold stuff.
A friend of mine forwarded this to me. So I thought I’d share too.

To all of you Target lovers out there,

Attached are Target coupons that can be printed and used as many times as you’d like up until October. A friend of mine passed this on to me just last night. I didn’t want to forward this on until she said she had checked it out, and sure enough, they work!

She said ‘I was already planning to go to Target today and I saved $20 at the register! The cashier let me ring up 4 separate transactions and use a coupon each time. I passed out the other 4 coupons I had with me to other shoppers since I could go home and print more. Please pass this on to anyone else!’

Publisher’s Note:
The email originally included a Microsoft Word attachment containing three fraudulent Target coupons like the one shown in the screenshot below. I have altered the screenshot to make it clear that the coupon is invalid.

Detailed Analysis:
According to this email forward, the attached coupons can be printed and used to receive 5 dollars off any purchase of $25 or more at Target stores. The message claims that the coupons can be reprinted and “used as many times as you’d like” until October, 2008 and urges the recipient to pass on copies of the coupons to others.

However, the coupons are in fact invalid and will not be accepted by Target. According to a Target press release, the coupons were originally distributed to a limited number of people via email and were valid for toy purchases only. The coupons were subsequently altered to make them appear valid for any purchase. The full Target press release about the invalid coupons is included below:

July 02, 2008

Target Coupon Fraudulently Tampered with and Transferred

Target no longer is able to accept the coupon

MINNEAPOLIS, Jul 02, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Unfortunately, due to fraudulent tampering and transferring, Target no longer is accepting coupon offers for $5 off a $25 or more toy or general merchandise purchase at Target. The coupons state they are valid through October 1, 2008.

Target sent the original coupons for $5 off a $25 or more toy purchase via e-mail to approximately 85,000 guests during the months of February and March. The altered coupon had an image and the word toy removed to make it appear to apply to any purchase.

Kathee Tesija, executive vice president, merchandising, Target, said, Our goal is to always surprise and delight our guests with great values, and we are disappointed that some of our guests may be inconvenienced by our need to respond to this fraudulent tampering and transferring.

Guests who originally received the coupon will be notified via e-mail that the coupon no longer is being accepted, and they also will receive a $5 Target GiftCard by mail. In addition, Target stores are posting signs at all check-out lanes alerting guests that these coupons are no longer valid.

About Target

Minneapolis-based Target serves guests at 1,613 stores in 47 states nationwide by delivering today’s best retail trends at affordable prices. Target is committed to providing guests with great design through innovative products, in-store experiences and community partnerships. Whether visiting a Target store or shopping online at Target.com, guests enjoy a fun and convenient shopping experience with access to thousands of unique and highly differentiated items. Since 1946, the corporation has invested five percent of its income in the communities it serves. Target (NYSE:TGT) gives more than $3 million a week to its local communities through grants and special programs. Target partners with nonprofit organizations, guests and team members to help meet community needs.

SOURCE: Target
Target Communications, 612-696-3400
Visit the Target Pressroom: www.Target.com/Pressroom


Thus, forwarding these fake coupons is nothing more than a waste of bandwidth. If you receive one of these emails, please let the sender know that the Target coupons are invalid.

Last updated: 4th July 2008
First published: 4th July 2008
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

Target discontinues coupons due to fraud

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,