Beware of Free Coffee Scam on Facebook

October 22, 2011

First it was Canada’s Tim Horton’s Coffee, and then Starbucks, but both were used to scam Facebook users into providing personal information. Writer Michael Woods of The Star posted that last week notices started appearing on Facebook offering free coffee. He warns consumers to be wary of such offers which seem too good to be true. The first offer was a promise of a free Tim Horton’s gift card, just for “liking” a page and sharing it with a friend. The tip-off came with a further request for the requestor to provide sensitive personal information. The Starbucks offer was for gift cards supposedly to celebrate the company’s 40th anniversary. Facebook removed the pages, but not until after thousands of fans had shared them. Personal information is being phished using many tactics, one of which is the free voucher scam. The scam also spread by email and morphed into versions stating that free vouchers were being given by Tim Horton’s to celebrate their 25th anniversary, though the company was started in 1964, making them 47 years old. The scam’s originators were more creative than careful. The Tim Horton fans were asked to write a thank you note on the scammer page’s wall. Woods states “The suggested phrase includes a valiant, yet failed attempt at Canadian spelling: ‘Free Coffee and Donughts. Thanks.’ “ Thus, spelling errors could be another red flag announcing “Scam in progress”. Facebook’s security page warns not to click on suspicious looking links. Suspicious links, factual errors and spelling errors all seem to be potential red flags. But the main warning is to be especially wary of anyone asking for sensitive or personal information. Do not provide it unless you know who is requesting it, why it’s requested, and the security in place to protect your information. Brew on, warily.



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