Post being shared on Facebook claims that you can click to get 10 free cartons of Marlboro brand cigarettes. The post claims that the giveaway is to celebrate Marlboro’s 110th anniversary.
The message is a scam designed to trick you into spamming your friends and divulging your personal information via dodgy survey websites. It has no connection to Marlboro and no cigarettes are being given away.
According to this post, which is currently circulating rapidly via Facebook, you can click to get 10 free cartons of Marlboro brand cigarettes. Supposedly, Marlboro is giving away the cigarettes as a means of celebrating its 110th anniversary. The post features an image depicting a coupon for the supposed giveaway along with the Marlboro logo.
However, the post is fraudulent. No cigarettes are being given away and the post is in no way associated with the Marlboro brand or with Philip Morris, the company that makes the brand. In fact, the post is a typical Facebook scam designed to trick you into spamming your friends with the same bogus giveaway and providing your personal information via suspect survey websites.
If you click the post in the hope of getting your free smokes, you will be taken to a website that instructs you to complete an – utterly pointless – survey about your smoking habits. Regardless of how you answer these survey questions, you will always be taken to the same fraudulent prize claim page. The page includes a series of – totally fake – comments supposedly added by users who have already received their free cigarettes. The comments are designed to make the false claims seem more legitimate.
Once on the claim page, you will be told that you must share the page on Facebook and then send a direct link to the page to 15 Facebook friends before getting your gift. By stipulating these two steps, the scammers ensure that their fraudulent material reaches an ever widening audience on Facebook.
But, even after you share and send as instructed and click the gift link, you will still not get to claim your free smokes. Instead, you will be told that you must ‘verify’ your claim by participating in one or more surveys. A popup window will include a list of links to several surveys you can participate in.
The links open various websites that promise the chance to win further prizes in exchange for filling in brief surveys and providing your name, home address, email address, and phone numbers. But, fine print on the page will note that, by participating, you are giving the site permission to share your information with site sponsors and third party marketing firms. Thus, soon after participating, you will begin receiving unwanted and annoying phone calls, text messages, emails, and surface letters promoting a range of products and services.
In some cases, by providing your mobile phone number, you are in fact subscribing to a very expensive SMS ‘club’ that will charge you several dollars for every text message they send you.
Meanwhile, the scammers who created the fake Marlboro giveaway will earn commissions each time somebody provides his or her information on one of the survey sites. And, of course, no matter how many surveys or offers you participate in, you will never get to claim your free cigarettes, which never existed in the first place.
Scams like this one are very common on Facebook. Be wary of any post or Page that claims that you can win valuable products or prizes just by sharing posts or links and participating in online surveys.
For the record, the Marlboro brand is not 110 years old as claimed in the scam post. Philip Morris launched the brand in 1924.
Last updated: June 29, 2016
First published: June 29, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen
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!