November 2011: SCAMwatch is warning social networking users to beware of scam posts which offer fake gift vouchers or products for free. The vouchers are offered in exchange for personal details and passing on a scam link to friends.
How the scam works
- You see a post on a social networking site such as Facebook or Twitter offering free gift vouchers or products. Recent scams have offered fake vouchers for supermarkets and coffee shops. Other have offered free products such as smartphones, tablet devices and laptops.
- This scam abuses brand names and logos of well-known companies and products in order to make the offers look legitimate.
- To claim the voucher or product you may be asked to first “Like” a Facebook page, share the scam post with friends and follow a link to complete a scam survey. The survey will ask for personal details which scammers can then use to commit identity theft.
- If you fall victim to the scam you will never receive the product or voucher. If you print an online voucher it will be a fake which is not honoured or of any value.
- In more sophisticated versions of this scam, clicking on links may cause your social media account to become hijacked or compromised. A hijacked account will spam your friends with more scam post. If your Facebook page has been compromised use this Facebook page to re-secure your account. If your Twitter account has been hijacked see this Twitter information on how to re-secure your page.
- Similar scams also are perpetrated via email with links to online scam surveys.
- Never click on suspicious links on social networking sites – even if they are from your friends. Remember if an offer seems too good to be true it probably is!
- Be very wary when filling in surveys linked to via social networking posts and pages. Scammers commonly use these surveys to steal your valuable personal information.
- If in doubt about the authenticity of a free offer always contact the company on their official customer service number to verify that it is genuine. You can also search the internet using the exact wording of the offer as many social media scams can be identified this way.
- Keep your personal details personal – be careful what information you share and post on social networking sites and with whom you share it– expect that people other than your friends can see it.
- Set your online social networking profiles to private, never give out your account details and regularly update your computer’s security software.
- Protect your accounts with strong passwords and change them regularly – have a different password for each social networking site so that if one is compromised, not all of your accounts will be at risk
- Don’t accept a friend request or a follow request from a stranger – people are not always who they say they are and the best way to keep scammers out of your life is to never let them in.
- If you think you have provided your banking or credit card details to a scammer contact your bank or financial institution immediately.
You can report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page on SCAMwatch or by calling 1300 795 995.