Identified Scam:

How to Avoid Facebook Free Gift Card Scams: Red Flags

Not all ads and posts you see on Facebook are trustworthy—in fact, most free gift card offers are actually scams.


Verified.org
Updated 8 June 2021
How to Avoid Facebook Free Gift Card Scams: Red Flags
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Identified Scam:

Key Finding

Scammers post free gift card offers on Facebook for various retailers.


Key Risk

You risk having your identity stolen and accounts hacked.

Sections on this page
  1. What is the Facebook Free Gift Card Scam?
  2. How To Beat and Avoid the Facebook Fake Gift Card Scam
  3. Examples of Facebook Free Gift Card Scams
  4. What To Do if You’ve Fallen for the Facebook Fake Gift Card Scam
  5. Frequently Asked Questions

The promise of a free gift card can seem like a great offer too good to pass up, but it can lead to identity theft and years of credit issues. Facebook free gift card scams are designed to steal your information but can be beaten by not clicking on these ads or posts, as tempting as it may be.

What is the Facebook Free Gift Card Scam?

In a Facebook free gift card scam, you see a post on your Facebook feed that looks like an advertisement to get a free gift card for a major retailer or store, like Amazon, Kohl’s, and Walmart. The ad usually asks you to do a few simple tasks to receive your gift card. These tasks may include answering questions in a survey, filling out a form, liking the post, and sharing the post.

What you don’t realize is that the promise of a gift card is a scam. In reality, the person impersonating the retailer or store is trying to gain access to your information. In some cases, they may even ask you to install files on your computer, which is usually an attempt to gain access to your computer with malicious intentions, like installing malware, stealing your personal information, and accessing your financial information.

Here's how the scam works.

Safety Alert

A different version of a gift card scam involves scammers asking for payment for an item, overdue bill, or service in the form of gift cards.  

You See then Click a Gift Card Post in Your Facebook Feed

These gift card posts are designed to look like advertisements from the retailer or store affiliated with the gift card. The post itself may use the retailer’s logo, branding, and other features to make you believe it’s from the company itself.

Example of free Amazon gift card offer posted on Facebook
Free gift card offers on Facebook can look genuine, even using company logos. (Source: Facecrooks)

When you click the link, you are often redirected off Facebook onto a different website. In some cases, the post may ask you to click the like button, redirecting you to an alternate webpage.

You Are Asked to Provide Your Personal Information or Download Files

Scammers may use different methods to obtain your personal information. They may ask you:

  • For your personal information, such as your email address, name, and home address, so that they can send you the gift card.
  • To fill in a form or survey, which may include questions about your experience with the gift card brand.
  • To download and install files onto your computer, telling you it’s a required step to obtain your free gift card.

The Scammer Steals Your Identity

Whether you provide your information to the scammer or install files, the result is the same—the scammer now has all of your data which they can use to steal your identity and money, and you never receive a free gift card.

In some cases, the scammer may continue to promise a gift card, even sending you a gift card number to use. However, the code won’t be valid, and a usable gift card will never arrive.

How To Beat and Avoid the Facebook Fake Gift Card Scam

The best way to avoid and beat the Facebook fake gift card scam is to never click on or respond to online ads or websites offering free gift cards. Instead, consider these types of online advertisements as red flags because the majority of them are scams.

Instead, reach out to the company itself. Check their website to find out if they are doing any legitimate gift card promotions and read their gift card policy.

If you do click on the post and are taken to a survey, questionnaire, or another website, do not enter any of your personal information, especially not things like your:

  • Social Security number (SSN)
  • Debit and credit card information

Red Flags to Watch Out For

There are a few easy things to do to check if you’re being scammed or not. If you click on an offer for a gift card via Facebook, look out for these red flags:

  • A URL that doesn’t match the retailer’s website
  • Requests for personal information they shouldn’t need (e.g., your SSN, credit card information)
  • Requirement to download and install software to your computer
  • Request for payment

Examples of Facebook Free Gift Card Scams

From asking for your personal information to prompting you to install files on your computer, here are a couple of examples of Facebook free gift card scams.

On your Facebook newsfeed, you may see a post that claims you can get a free gift card from a major retailer, such as Kohl’s.

Free Kohl's gift card offer on Facebook.
(Source: waaytv.com)

For example, in this scam, you will be asked a short series of questions after you click the link from the post. The questions may vary, but they may ask you about your experience with Kohl’s or your age.

Next, the scammers ask that you share the post and click the “Like” button to receive your Kohl’s gift card. However, when you click the “Like” button, you are instead redirected to another website that asks you to provide your email address, accept emails, and complete additional surveys. Finally, they ask you to do one more thing before you get your gift card—install file(s) onto your computer.

Another example of this scam happens when one of your Facebook friends shares a free gift card or discount code, and it shows up in your feed.

After you click the post, the scammer prompts you to fill out a form that asks for personal information, like your name, address, date of birth, and email, with the promise that you will receive the code or gift card after you enter your information. In this scam, though, you won't receive a gift card or discount code after you fill out the form.

What To Do if You’ve Fallen for the Facebook Fake Gift Card Scam

If you have fallen victim to the Facebook fake gift card scam, you should reach out to a few organizations to report the fraud:

  • Facebook: Report fake gift card scams and posts to Facebook by clicking the Report link, located near the content/post itself.
  • Authorities: Report these scams to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) online.

You should also carefully monitor your accounts for any fraudulent activity and change your passwords. With the information the scammer has collected from you, they can try to log into your accounts, steal your money, and steal your identity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I trust free gift card offers on Facebook?

While there may be legitimate offers for free gift cards on Facebook, most of them are scams designed to steal your information and even your money. It's safest to avoid clicking on any of these offers. 

How do I check if a gift card offer is real or not?

Look for red flags of scams, such as a sketchy-looking website or URL, misspellings and typos, and strange requests, such as requests for payment or to download software.

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