Have you seen a Facebook post claiming that a particular store is giving EVERYONE a free voucher or coupon to celebrate its anniversary? Hundreds of these giveaways have flooded Facebook over the last year or so.
Of course, companies may run genuine competitions on Facebook in which people can win a store voucher or other prize. But any post that claims that a company is giving every person that participates a free voucher or coupon as an anniversary celebration is sure to be fraudulent.
Supposed Anniversary Giveaways are Survey Scams
These anniversary giveaways are survey scams designed to trick you into spamming your friends and divulging your personal information on scam survey websites. They are not associated with the companies they name and they are not giving away any vouchers or coupons. People who participate have no chance of winning anything at all.
As a condition of entry, participants are told to share the fake posts on Facebook and send direct links to the scam page to their friends. This ensures that the fraudulent giveaways reach an ever widening pool of potential victims.
And, if they are tricked into submitting their personal information, victims will soon be inundated with marketing phone calls, text messages, emails, and letters promoting a variety of products and services they most likely neither want nor need. Information provided on the survey websites will be shared with site sponsors and third-party marketing companies.
The scammers who create the bogus giveaways receive commissions each time a victim submits personal details on one of the survey sites.
These anniversary giveaway scams have two components:
- A fraudulent Facebook post that entices you to click to get your giveaway. The scam posts feature an image supposedly depicting the voucher or coupon.
- A fraudulent website that begins with a short survey about the targeted company and then opens a fake prize claim page that asks you to share the giveaway, send a link to your friends, and then participate in surveys.
Each new version of the scam uses the name and logo of the targeted store to make the claims seem more believable. Some call the fictional giveaways “coupons” while others call them “vouchers”. The colours used may vary.
Scammers Use Templates to Easily Create New Scams
But, apart from these branding variations, all of the scams are almost identical. The people who perpetrate these scams use predefined templates that allow them to rapidly deploy new versions. When they want to launch a new scam, they simply load a template, add the desired store names, logos, and images, tweak the colour scheme to suit and post the fake giveaway on Facebook.
I’ve even seen cases in which a post claiming that a certain store is giving away vouchers links to a fake website for an entirely different store. For example, clicking an Aldi voucher giveaway post may open a website that claims to be giving away Tesco coupons. Presumably, the scammers have accidentally linked their scam post to the wrong scam website or were just too lazy to swap the pages.
The followings series of images shows the similarities between four recent versions of the scam.
Initial Scam Posts
Fake Store Survey Web Pages
Fake Prize Claim Web Pages