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Cyren Security Blog

The Cyren Security Blog is where Cyren engineers and thought leaders provide insights, research and analysis on a range of current cybersecurity topics.

Facebook scams: Free giftcards for Cheesecake Factory, Tim Hortons, and Costco

– Get a Tim Hortons Gift Card for FREE!

– Get a Cheesecake Factory Gift Card for FREE!

– Get a Costco Gift Card for FREE!

What a great time of year to get free gift cards. According to the Facebook posts “Costco is currently giving away $1,000.00 gift cards to all facebook users!!” (similar posts for Cheesecake factory and Tim Hortons).

According to our calculations this would cost Costco 850,000,000 (number of Facebook users) x $1000 = $850 Billion – that’s quite a marketing campaign. Of course the posts are part of a scam designed to lure users to webpages like these:

The number next to “free cards remaining” counts down encouraging visitors to quickly follow the steps below – sharing the link, and clicking on “like” – resulting in news feed updates on friend pages that further promote the scam:

Note the subtle changes between the two versions. These are designed to bypass Facebook’s spam filters which look for repeating messages.

Once the like button has been clicked, the true destination website is revealed – a marketing affiliate site. The owners of this site get revenue every time someone fills in a form or completes an offer. Of course it’s now a $1000 Amazon gift card on offer.

As a public service we hereby provide the fine-print from this site in larger font:

SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS. To receive the reward you must: 1) be a U.S. resident at least 18 years of age or older; 2) Register with valid information; 3) Complete the user surveys; 4) Complete the following reward offers: 2 Silver, 2 Gold, and 2 Platinum offers (Available reward offers will vary. Some reward offers require a purchase. Credit card offers may require you to activate the card by making a purchase, transferring a balance or taking a cash advance. 5) Follow the redemption instructions. All program requirements must be completed within 120 days of the date of registration. Allow 6-8 weeks for delivery. Limit of one (1) gift per household. No cash redemption value. Please read the Program Rules for complete program details. Your information will be shared with our marketing partners. Please read the Privacy Policy for more details.

Coming soon: – Our summary of 2011 Facebook threats.

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