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
Importance NoticeAfter considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.
These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.
Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.
And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.
When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.
I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.
A Big Thank YouI would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.
I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.
Closing DateHoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.
Thank you, one and all!