There's a Facebook scam going around, and you should be aware of it. Offers for a free H&M gift card are bogus. Here's what you need to know to stay safe on Facebook and protect your personal data.
1. Scammers Are Offering $500 H&M Gift Cards For Free
Ok. How many of you fell for this FREE $500 H&M Gift Card Facebook Scam? Confess! http://t.co/SrouOgI8Kd
— mrbrown (@mrbrown) February 24, 2014
The amount of the free gift cards is allegedly $500, according to Product Reviews. Consumers should be wary of any free gift card offers, but offers for such a large amount of money should ring some serious warning bells. Product Reviews adds that over 10,000 users appear to have "Liked" this fake voucher.
2. H&M Has Released a Statement
Today seems to be the first day on the Internet for many people. To welcome them, H&M has decided to give away $500 gift cards on Facebook.
— far han (@frhn) February 25, 2014
H&M has responded to this widespread gift card scam. On their FAQ page, H&M states:
"Unfortunately, a number of fake campaigns and H&M accounts are circulating on Facebook and Instagram giving away gift cards to our customers. We are aware of the problem and H&M is not the only company afflicted. We do not support these kinds of actions and we always report them to Instagram and Facebook to get them closed down as soon as possible and prevent them from spreading even further. We truly apologize for the inconvenience that these fake campaigns may cause our customers.
You will find information about any future contests via our official Instagram (@hm), Facebook (facebook.com/hm), Twitter (twitter.com/hm) and Google+ (plus.google.com/+hm)."
3. Scammers Are Likely After Your Data
When I see people sharing the H&M and ZARA vouchers giveaway on Facebook and not realizing that those are all fake. pic.twitter.com/nGgLwEhOO4
— Jason Yong (@jasonyong_) February 24, 2014
People who are duped by this scam are asked to give some personal responses to questions. The purpose of this scam is likely to gain personal data, or to engage in "click baiting" when people "Like" a page.
4. Other Gift Card Scams Exist on Facebook
SCAM ALERT: "Free $500 Costco Gift Card" scan making the rounds on Facebook again! http://t.co/kWNa6EqFx8
— Baker Digital OKC (@BakerDigitalOKC) November 11, 2013
H&M isn't the only retailer to get their good name soiled by one of these scams. Naked Security reports that a similar gift card scam for Costco made the rounds not too long ago.
5. You Can Protect Yourself
— David Iwanow (@davidiwanow) February 25, 2014
Facecrooks, an online guide to protecting yourself from Facebook scammers, has some advice for staying safe online. Facecrooks advises a three-step safety plan:
"1. The first step is to be aware that scams like this are prevalent on Facebook. If you have the mindset that most of the ‘free’ offers you encounter are bogus, then you’ll be a step ahead of the game.
2. Think before you Click! If the offer sounds too good to be true, then don’t click that link! There is no way a company can afford to give every Facebook user a $25.00, $50.00 or $100.00 gift card. A little common sense here tells you that something is way off base.
3. If the offer being presented sounds like it could be legitimate, then contact the company to verify the promotion. Visit their website or contact them on the telephone. This will only take a few moments and could save you a lot of trouble down the road.
As the old saying goes, 'if it sounds too good to be true, then it usually is.' Nowhere are these words of wisdom more applicable than on Facebook!"