Scammers offer "free" $500 Amazon gift card on Facebook

For those who click on the bogus gift card link, they are taken to a page that encourages visitors to sign up for a premium rate mobile phone service, according to a blog by Graham Cluley of Sophos. The scammers also earn money through affiliate marketing sites by driving traffic to those sites.

Cluley opined that these types of scams play on Facebook users’ desire to get something for nothing. “Why did you seriously believe that was going to give you (and presumably the other 800 million people on Facebook) a free gift card?”, he asked.

Cluley encouraged Facebook users to check their pages to ensure that they are not spreading messages to online friends with bogus offers or other scams.

A recent report estimated that three-fourths of all Facebook scams involve affiliate marketing sites. Facebook users are often tricked into clicking on “free” merchandise offers or filling out surveys that generate affiliate payments for the scammers, victimizing legitimate businesses that pay affiliate marketing fees, according to Commtouch’s 2012 Internet Threats Trend Report.

It appears that the bogus gift card is just the latest example of this growing Facebook trend.

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