While it’s true that Starbucks hit the big four-oh back in March, sadly they are not spreading caffeinated cheer by giving away free vouchers on Facebook. (They even tweeted about it.)
Scammers are tapping into the love of delicious Caramel Frappuccinos and White Chocolate Mochas in order to get folks to hand over their personal information and share the scam with their friends.
While a variety of URLs are being used in spam messages promoting this fraudulent Starbucks offer, the ultimate message stays the same – free gift cards to celebrate the 40th anniversary:
FREE Starbucks $50 Gift Card
To celebrate our 40th Anniversary, we are giving away thousands of $50 Gift Vouchers FREE – http://drinkthis.me/
Another variant offers a whopping $100 Starbucks gift voucher – and sports a different URL:
Get FREE Starbucks Vouchers – With a value of $100
To celebrate 40 years of Starbucks, we are giving away
thousands of $100 Gift Vouchers FREE – gift-cards-4-drinks.com
Oh, just imagine all of the mouth-savoring lattes and baked treats you could get with that! That is, if it were real.
If you were to click on one of these offers, you’d be taken to a page where you’re asked to share the offer with all of your friends (to help keep the spam alive, of course) and declare your love for Starbucks in a comment.
However, the rabbit hole doesn’t end there, but instead leads you down a dark path filled with surveys intended to steal as much personal information as they possibly can and have you complete “silver”, “gold” & “platinum” offers that typically involve applying for credit cards and signing up for paid services.
By the time you’re done with everything, you’ve probably spent more than the voucher is worth and set yourself up for a little thing called identity theft. (Feel free to panic now.)
So what do you do if you’ve already fallen for this scam?
- Delete the “shared” message from your news feed and public wall.
- Post a warning to your friends, telling them not to fall for the scam.
- Be wary of offers you receive in the future via e-mail and snail mail, the scammer has your personal information, so they can send a far more detailed attack.
- If you’ve given out your credit card or bank account numbers, closely monitor your billing statements for any suspicious charges or contact your bank/creditor and see if you can have your account numbers changed. You may also want to consider a credit freeze to keep the crooks from opening accounts in your name.
Always exercise caution when participating in special offers, especially on Facebook.
Crooks LOVE spreading scams on Facebook because they have the tendency to spread like wildfire.