As much as some people might fantasize about playing modern day Bonnies and Clydes, how many would even think about ripping off a humongous, multibillion-dollar brand like Coca-Cola? Well one mother-daughter team did just that recently! The duo -- 55-year-old Carrie Jones and 31-year-old Sarah Jones -- scammed Coke out of more than $200,000 by participating in a four-month contest in 2011 that allowed customers to text codes from Coke product bottle caps to see if they won.
Who woulda thunk ... ? Even though I'm totally a brand loyalist and definitely read packaging, I'm not really one to get into food promo contests like this, though I could definitely see the appeal. Kind of like playing the lottery -- and even if you don't win, you still have your favorite soda, snack, or cereal in front of you! But the Joneses did win ... by gaming the game.
The women reportedly created 650 email addresses using other people's identities and sold prize codes on eBay. Soon, though, after a high number of winnings went to a single IP address in Albany, New York, the Coca-Cola company became suspicious. Part of the contest rules had been that a person could not win more than twice and a household could only win five times during the promotion.
It's not clear how the details of the scam became even more apparent, but the ladies were still totally buusssted! Still, not that they'd tell the court where they got their codes from. Tricky! They won't go to jail, either. They were just sentenced to two years probation and were ordered to jointly pay $48,000 to Coca-Cola. Not even the full $200K! Kinda crazy, right?
What a random, funny way to win some serious cash. Maybe we should pay attention to food promo contests like these more often. And you know ... play them legally, of course.
Do you participate in contests like this one? What's the most you've won?