According to a message circulating via WhatsApp, you can follow a link to win a 2018 Toyota Yaris. Supposedly, Toyota is offering the chance to win the cars as a means of celebrating its 50th anniversary.
The message urges you to take action quickly because there are only 150 cars left to give away. It mainly circulates in French, although reports suggest that there are English versions as well.
However, the message has no connection to Toyota and those who participate have no chance of winning a Yaris or any other prize.
If you follow the link, you will be taken to a website that asks you to fill in a short survey about your driving habits. After performing a pretend analysis of your answers, the site will offer congratulations and claim that you have won a Yaris. No matter what answers you provide in the survey, the site will always declare you a winner of the car.
Next, you will be told that you must share the prize post with 30 of your WhatsApp friends or groups before you can claim your free car. This ensures that the scam keeps spreading and gains many new victims.
After sharing as instructed, you will be redirected to one of several decidedly dodgy websites that promise the chance to win further prizes in exchange for registering your details. But, the information you provide will be shared with marketing companies who will subsequently inundate you with phone calls, emails, text messages, and letters touting a range of dubious products and services.
The scammers who created the fake giveaway will earn commissions each time somebody signs up on one of the linked websites.
Sometimes, WhatsApp scam prize posts may also try to trick you into downloading and installing an app. This app may contain malware or may harvest your personal information.
No matter how many times you provide your information on the linked websites or how many apps you download, you will never receive the promised prize. There is no prize and no winners.
If this fake prize post comes your way, do not click on it. And let the person who posted it know that the message is a scam.
For the record, Toyota was founded in 1937, so 2018 is not the company’s 50th anniversary as claimed in the scam message.
Examples of the scam messages
A Screenshot of the scam page the link opens:
French transcript of the above page content:
Félicitations, vous êtes sur le point de gagner la nouvelle Toyota Yaris 2018
Faire les étapes suivantes
1. Partagez avec 30 de vos amis / groupes WhatsApp (cliquez sur l’icône WhatsApp).
2. Après votre participation, vous serez automatiquement redirigé pour obtenir la nouvelle Toyota yaris.
3. Vous recevrez un message indiquant la date de livraison de votre voiture Toyota sur votre numéro WhatsApp dans 5 minutes.
Partagez via WhatsApp jusqu’à ce que le ruban bleu soit rempli
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!