Free gift card promotion is a Facebook scam

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
@[email protected]

Gift card scams are a common sight on Facebook, and this weekend it has been the turn of to be the brand used by cybercriminals as a way of making them cash.

Amazon Gift card scam on Facebook

One Free Gift Card (limited time only)

Amazon is currently giving away gift cards to all facebook users. Click here to get one!

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When you see one of your friends share a link like this with you, the truth is that they have been duped into a scam. Be careful not to make the same mistake as them, or you’ll just be helping put cash into the pockets of the bad guys.

If you do click on the link you are taken to a webpage on a third-party website which looks something like this:

Amazon Gift card scam on Facebook

Notice how it encourages you to re-share the link, and add a comment, before it will allow you to access the special deal (in this case, an allegedly free gift card).

If you follow the page’s instructions you will be taken to another webpage, in this the example below it encourages you to sign up for a premium rate mobile phone service which could end up hurting you in the pocket.

In addition, the scammers earn affiliate cash by driving traffic to sites like this.

The scam tries to trick you into signing up for a premium rate mobile phone service

Amazon gift cardYou have to ask yourself at this point – are you partly to blame?

I mean, yes – in an ideal world – Facebook would have blocked the link from spreading and prevented you from clicking on it. But why did you seriously believe that was going to give you (and presumably the other 800 million people on Facebook) a free gift card?

It’s even more implausible when you consider that the image used in the gift card scam messages is for a jaw-dropping $500.

If you’re one of the many people who fell for this or similar scams, please check your Facebook page to ensure that you are not spreading any messages to your online friends and ensure that you have revoked any Facebook applications, events and “like”d pages that you are uncomfortable with.

If you use Facebook and want to get an early warning about the latest attacks, you should join the Sophos Facebook page where we have a thriving community of over 150,000 people.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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