Everybody loves free stuff, and a couple hundred bucks could go a long way at Walmart, but think twice before you click on Facebook posts promising unbelievable freebies. A scam post offering a free $250 Walmart gift card is making the rounds on Facebook (again!).
The post may look legit with high-quality graphics and even the Walmart logo. The text might appear to be written by a friend, stating that all you have to do is take a survey or be one of the first 100 people to click on the link (with a prompt to hurry, because there are only a few remaining!). However, not only will you not receive the gift card, but you might also find yourself losing much more in the process.
The link will take you to a scammer’s website, where one of two things may happen and in some cases, both. Your device may become infected with malicious software, which can access personal information such as passwords, security questions and account information. In addition, you may land on a phishing website that deceitfully encourages you to provide your credit card or bank account information by charging a nominal fee for shipping the supposed gift card or offering a great deal on another product, for example.
According to Walmart’s Fraud Alert website, the company never solicits online for individuals to complete surveys in exchange for gift cards, nor do they endorse or sponsor related programs. You can report suspected scams such as this to Walmart, which will work with the authorities to track down the offenders.
Some steps you can take to protect yourself from Facebook scams such as the Walmart gift card hoax include:
- Remove access from suspicious apps in your Facebook settings.
- Change your Facebook password and log out on each device you use regularly.
- Avoid clicking on dubious links, even if they appear to be shared by a friend.
- Never give out your credit card, bank account or social security numbers on questionable or unsecure websites.
- Install reputable security software and set it to update automatically.
- Above all, remember that when something sounds too good to be true, it probably is!