'Queenpins' Shines Spotlight on Coupon Fraud Protection

Not surprisingly, when we at Quotient—a company founded on the idea of optimizing coupons and promotions—learned of a new feature film about coupons, we wanted to be first in line to see it! As the crime-comedy Queenpins hits streaming services this week, we’re diving into Hollywood’s take on extreme couponing. 

Directed by Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapilly and starring Kristen Bell, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Vince Vaughn and Paul Walter Hauser, Queenpins follows two neighbors who have bonded over their passion for coupon clipping as they try to get rich by selling stolen coupons. 

At its core, Queenpins depicts a relatively simple coupon fraud scheme. After Connie (Bell) receives a manufacturer’s free product coupon for her box of stale cereal, she teams up with JoJo (Howell-Baptiste) to track down the facility where the coupons are printed in Mexico and smuggle out more. Meanwhile, postal investigator Simon Kilmurry (Vaughn) and overzealous loss-prevention officer Ken (Hauser) amateurishly seek to expose and stop the fraudsters. 

Since the movie is loosely based on a true story, it’s a timely opportunity to explore the mechanics of coupon fraud and outline the protections that exist today to protect advertisers from the multi-million-dollar losses depicted in Queenpins.

Kristen Bell as coupon fraudster Connie Kaminski. Photo: STX Films


How Digital Coupons Protect Against Fraud

Though we don’t find any elaborate digital hacking or counterfeiting attempts in Queenpins, that doesn’t mean sophisticated fraud isn’t a concern for advertisers. So, what guardrails exist today to protect brands? 

To start, Quotient deals only in digital coupons. Compared to print coupons delivered via the free-standing insert (FSI) or snail mail, digital coupons inherently have more built-in safeguards—whether they’re load-to-card, printable or rebates. For example, shoppers can redeem promotions through our load-to-card platform, which is fraud-free by design and doesn’t allow redemptions in excess of individually identified coupons delivered. We continue to have zero instances of reported fraud through this platform. 

There are also receipt-scan security controls. Our digital rebate technology delivers cash-back via receipt scan. The biggest security threats here are manipulation of receipts and multiple redemptions on single receipts. We use duplicate-receipt detection technology to identify potential risks as well as a dedicated team to review any transactions that are deemed potentially fraudulent. Additionally, Quotient validates users through a machine-learning algorithm based on more than 50 behavior variables, third-party device authentication and PayPal account validation. 

Finally, we offer security controls for our printable coupons with advanced technology that guards against coupon copying and stacking. These methods include encrypting unique serial numbers and a proprietary Print ID™ technology that combines server-based security, multi-factor authentication and tracking to enforce specific campaign, device and redemption limits.

Plan Your Next Promotion Campaign Today

Whether you love coupons as much as we do or you’re just looking for a couple hours of laughs, Queenpins offers a lighthearted, if over-the-top, escape. But thanks to Quotient’s suite of anti-fraud technology and modern protections, rest assured that any true coupon scheme would require a hefty dose of movie magic. 

Have further questions about digital promotions? Contact us at communications@quotient.com or check out our promotions platform page for more information.