Whole Foods Market, a Texas supermarket chain, has been fighting the latest gift card scam that takes advantage of the company well-known brand by offering a $500 gift card to lure Facebook users to part with their personal and credit card information.
According to CNet, the scam artists have set up a couple of “fan pages” with names that misuse the company name to gain an aura of legitimacy (“Whole Foods FREE $500 Gift Card! Only Available for 36 hours!”, “Whole Foods Market Free $500 Gift Card Limited – first 12,000 fans only”) and entice the users to become a “fan”.
To get the gift card, they are asked to fill out a credit assessment and to give up other personal information. While the users are doing it, the crooks use malware to crash their computers and leave the information vulnerable.
The scam first surfaced on Thursday, and Whole Foods is still fighting to mitigate the effects of this campaign by warning people of the scam and pushing for a fast takedown of the “fan pages”. The problem is that as soon as one is taken down, another pops-up.
“We’re working on ways to automate the flagging of these scam groups and pages so we can take action on them even more quickly,” says a Facebook official.
But Whole Foods is not the only company whose reputation has been threatened by a misuse of its name on Facebook. According to Brick and Click Consulting, IKEA and Best Buy have also had their names commandeered by cyber criminals and used in the exactly same way as Whole Foods’.
The crooks set up a rogue “fan page” and offer $1,000 gift cards in exchange for becoming a “fan” and personal and credit card information.
Users are warned not to fall for these and other scams that fall in the “Too good to be true” category. If you are tempted, it is best to search for confirmation of the deal on official company websites or for alternative Facebook “fan pages” that can prove their legitimacy.