The digital age has brought us instant access to information, but it also brought along infinite opportunities for thieves. Whether it’s an app that drains your wallet through a subscription service or malware that infects your device and steals information, you can never be too vigilant.
Scammers have taken to social media to ply their craft. Fake airline pages offer free flights while phony hotel pages are giving away rooms. Tap or click here to see how this Costco scam tricked people with the promise of free groceries.
A recent Facebook post from Walmart stated that the retail giant is giving away gift bags stuffed with goodies and a $75 voucher to the store. The problem is that neither the post nor the offer is legitimate.
Here’s the backstory
It’s not difficult for a crook to steal logos and photos from a company and use them in a fake post. To the casual observer, these posts and the pages they originate from look genuine.
These posts have a clever way of working because they are spread by the very users who fall for them. The post asks that you share it with others and this can happen thousands of times. They will also include a link to a page where you can enter your email address, credit card number and other personal information. Don’t do it!
The spoofed Walmart post said the giveaway is to celebrate that the company is going plastic bag-free. Since the real Walmart is indeed moving in that direction, this helped add legitimacy to the post.
The offer of a voucher is tempting during these rough times and is, unfortunately, a regular occurrence nowadays. Tap or click here to see how scammers use the rise of unemployment to their advantage.
The fraudulent Walmart post contained a “Validate” button that led to an unsecured website where personal information is gathered in exchange for a false return. The post itself was a poor piece of work. The images were blurry and punctuation was off. These are good signs of a fake post, but people were still duped.
Just ignore and scroll on
If you find a post suspicious, go to the page where it originated. If it’s an official Facebook page, you will see a blue checkmark indicating so. You can take things a step further by contacting the company and asking if the post and offer were legitimate. Sometimes the company will make its own post calling out the scam, but you can’t always rely on this.
The fact checking website Snopes posted a warning about the Walmart scam on its Facebook page:
The truth is that companies do not randomly give away things on social media in this manner. Delta is not giving out free flights, Disney is not offering a Magic Kingdom dream getaway and Bill Gates is not throwing cash your way. As a general rule, ignore any post that seems too good to be true.