Beware Facebook Gift Scams

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That’s not a Black Friday deal on Facebook. Learn about a ripoff promising vouchers at Costco, Starbucks and other stores.

InformationWeek warns about a scam spreading across the social networking site…

Beware of a gift scam that promises to reward a limited number of respondents with a $400 voucher to Australian retailer Woolworths. The scam typically circulates via Facebook, after a user shares a link to a “Get a Free $400 Woolworths Voucher Now” page with their Facebook friends.

Interestingly, clicking on the included link — woolworthsfree.net — dumps most people onto a Google search page, with no further offers being forthcoming.

According to Australia-based software architect Troy Hunt, that’s because the scam uses JavaScript to identify the country that a user is located in, and then discards anyone who’s not located in Australia, Albania, Canada, New Zealand or South Africa. Sister scams operating in other countries, meanwhile, include one that targets Costco users in the United States with vouchers and another that offers a $100 “free Starbucks Christmas voucher.”

The scam is using common legitimate business techniques – requesting users share the deal and “Like” the page – to send users to pages where personal information is collected and possibly used for identity theft. So if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Stacy Johnson

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