Facebook scam: FREE Starbucks $50 / $25 Tim Hortons Gift Card

A new Facebook scam exploits your desire to get a free gift card to either Starbucks or Tim Hortons. Many can't resist the temptation of getting free coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.
Written by Emil Protalinski, Contributor

Facebook scammers are once again exploiting ignorant victims with claims of freebies. Anyone who likes coffee shops is a potential victim – whether you like to drink coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, chances are you wouldn't mind doing so for free for the next few weeks.

This version says something along the lines of "FREE Starbucks $50 Gift Card" or "FREE $25 Tim Hortons Gift Card" followed by a link to a fraudulent website. It also has one of the following descriptions: "To celebrate our 40th Anniversary, we are giving away thousands of $50 Gift Vouchers FREE" or "To celebrate our birthday, we are giving away thousands of $25 Gift Vouchers FREE."

I saw this scam start spreading over the weekend: some of my fellow Canadian friends were eager to get a free gift card to Tim Hortons (sometimes affectionately referred to as Timmies). Then the scam expanded to include Starbucks, which has locations both in Canada and the US.

Similar to previous Facebook scams, you need to share the link with your Facebook friends before proceeding. The webpage in question tells you this is necessary to get the free voucher.

The scammers' goal is to drive more traffic towards certain sites. This is how the scammer earns his or her money: a commission for every survey completed, every product purchased, and/or every account compromised. They also use them to spread malware and obtain personal information.

As I've recommended before, if you see a scam like this one, report it. Then go check your own Wall to make sure you're not spreading the scam; the sooner you clean it up and unlike the page, the better. You can even contact Facebook Security if you'd like to.

See also:

Editorial standards