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Last updated: November 19, 2012
First published: November 19, 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer
The victim is initially taken to a bogus promotion page and instructed to "Share" the page and add a comment. This effectively spams the same bogus message to the users Facebook friends:
This message, which is currently rocketing rapidly across Facebook, suggests that users can receive a free Target voucher worth $500 just by clicking a link contained in the message.
However, the message is a scam and has no connection to Target whatsoever. No one who clicks the link will EVER receive the promised voucher. The vouchers do not exist other than in the grubby little minds of the scammers who create the messages. The fictional vouchers are simply the bait used to drag people into an online survey scam.
Here is what happens when a user falls for the ruse and clicks the link:
Some of the "survey" pages ask users to provide personal information including name, address and contact details, ostensibly to allow them to go in the draw for a prize. Others invite them to download dubious toolbars, games or software. Still others will claim that users must provide their mobile phone number - thereby subscribing to absurdly expensive text messaging services - in order to get the results of a survey or go in the running for a prize.
No matter how many offers or surveys they complete, or what services they subscribe to, victims will never receive their promised Target vouchers.
The scammers who create these bogus promotions will earn commissions via suspect affiliate marketing schemes each and every time a victim completes an offer or participates in a survey. Victims may also be faced with large phone bills for unwanted mobile phone services and, because they have provided name and contact details, they may be inundated with unwanted promotional emails, phone calls and junk mail.
Survey scams like this one are extremely common. Be very cautious of any message that appears on your Facebook wall that claims you can receive expensive gift cards, vouchers or prizes just by clicking a link. Any promotion that claims that you participate in third party surveys before receiving your promised prize is likely to be a scam.