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Beware of Facebook gift card scams

A bogus $1,000 Ikea gift card offer drew more than 70,000 users to a scam page.

By Karen Datko Apr 12, 2010 11:57AM

This post comes from partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.

 

Facebook has begun warning users to avoid bogus links to free gift card offers because they are scams aimed at stealing user identities.

 

Facebook Security says it tries to remove the links and pages as quickly as it can find them.

 

"Watch out for suspicious offers for free gift cards," the Web site warns. "We've been removing groups and pages that promise free gift cards, but instead trick people into entering information or spamming their friends. If you come across one, report it to us immediately."

 

The schemes usually work this way: A "friend" writes on your wall telling you about the gift card offer. Usually the alleged gift cards are for well-known retailers like Best Buy or Ikea. You are then directed to a third-party Web site where you're told to fill in all sorts of personal information -- sometimes even a debit or credit card number.

 

Afterward you're directed to the actual site of the retailer, a move presumably to lull you into thinking the offer is legitimate. However, by that time the scammer has all the information he needs to do some real damage.

PCWorld reports that a bogus $1,000 Ikea gift card offer drew more than 70,000 Facebook users to a scam page before Facebook Security discovered it and took it down.

 

Victims are usually targeted through spam, but also by legitimate "friends" who have been taken in by the scheme.

When criminals gain access to a Facebook account, they usually post spammy comments on friends' walls, or send spammy messages. "Don't click on strange links in posts or messages, even if they're from friends," the Web site said.

 

If it seems weird for an old friend to write on your wall or send you a message, Facebook cautions, it's possible that the person's account has been taken over by a spammer. As always, be particularly cautious of posts or messages that contain misspellings or use bad grammar.

 

Related reading at ConsumerAffairs.com:

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