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    Online Coupon Fraud Targeted

    FMI, GMA estimate practice could cost grocers at least $1 million, ask eBay to stop illegal auctions.

    NEW YORK -- The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) have sent a letter to eBay, asking the Internet company to immediately stop the sale or auction of grocery coupons on its Web site, noting that the practice is illegal and many of the coupons may be counterfeit.

    FMI and GMA were prompted by a recent scam involving Internet-generated coupons, which one fraud expert says will cost the nation's grocers at least $1 million.

    FMI and GMA have redoubled their efforts through the Joint Industry Coupon Committee, whose members also include the Association of Coupon Professionals and the Uniform Code Council. The committee will meet at the Annual Joint Industry Coupon Conference Oct. 7-8 in Boston.

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