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Target 'Free Gift Voucher' Survey Scam

Outline
Message appearing on Facebook walls claims that users can get a free Target voucher worth $500 by clicking a link in the message.



Brief Analysis
The message is a scam. It is not an official Target promotion. The scam is designed to trick users into spamming their friends with more of the fake promotion messages as well as participating in bogus online surveys and offers. Participants will never receive the promised vouchers, which do not exist. If you see one of these messages. do not click on any links that it contains.

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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


Example
Target Survey Scam Message


Get Free $500 target voucher Now (97 Left)




Detailed Analysis
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:

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:

Bogus Target Promotion Page

After completing these steps, the user will then be informed that he must perform a "Security Check" to prove that he is human. He will be instructed to click one of several "survey" links to complete the "test".

Target Survey Scam

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.

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References

Facebook Survey Scams


Last updated: November 19, 2012
First published: November 19, 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer