Facebook Gift Card Scams

 I see it far too often in my Facebook stream.  Friend after friend of mine falling for it, over and over and over again.  People that should KNOW better!  Although, at this point I would think that all of my friends should know better, but yet, I see it happening again!  So let me just reiterate….

No one will give you a free gift card on Facebook (there are possibly exceptions for places giving out something MAYBE worth $5.00), but it’s not Costco, it’s not Starbucks, and a good rule of thumb is to say that it’s not legit.  So here is the test you should go through ANY time you see something like this on Facebook (or really anywhere else for that matter).

1. Is it coming straight from the company’s legitimate, official Facebook page?  Don’t click the link you see to find out.  Type the company name in the top search box within Facebook.  Usually it will be the page with a ton of fans.  Click on the page from the search and look on their page.  If you see the promotion coming directly from them, congrats!  It’s probably legit, but lets keep going just in case.

2. Take your mouse and hover over the link.  So in the included image you would hover your mouse over “Get Free $250 Costco voucher Now.”  First, you should see right from the link itself that it’s not going to be legit.  What formal company would put a lower case for voucher and an uppercase for the rest of the title?  Granted mistakes happen, but when you are a major corporation, you try not to make those.  The next clue on the link is that it states there are (107 left).  The link name can not be automatically updating, so that right there should tell you it’s not right.  The last clue on the link happens when you hover over it.  The bottom left corner of your browser should tell you exactly where the link is pointing.  Unless it’s pointing to the main domain of the company, it’s not going to be legit.  So say it says on the bottom http://www.costco.com/promotion/wereallyaregivingthisstuffaway then don’t believe it.  What you are looking for is whatever is right before the .com in the address, and if it’s not a .com but it’s a .us or something else… RUN.

So now that you know it’s NOT a legitimate promotion… what if you already fell for it??

1. Change your Facebook password.  Who knows what kind of scripts it ran, especially if it suddenly looked like you logged out of Facebook and it asked you to log back in.

2. Delete the post from your wall… you don’t want to be the cause of your friends getting hacked too, right?

3. Check your “approved apps”, by clicking the down arrow near your name in the top right corner of Facebook.  Select “Account Settings”.  On the left click “apps”.  Anything that doesn’t look familiar to you, or that you don’t use regularly, go ahead and delete by clicking the x to the right of the app name.  It’s not going to hurt anything to remove.  If it ends up being something you needed you can always just re-enable the app when you try to use that program.

4. Some of these require that you give them your phone number.  If you did that, check with your cell phone provider to make sure you haven’t authorized any additional charges.

So this has been a public service announcement, brought to you by Tech4Moms.com… don’t fall for the scam!


This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using the links.



About the author

Sarah Werle Kimmel

Sarah Werle Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 20 years of her career working as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on local NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX news affiliates, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com

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