No one is giving away free stuff on Facebook*

There are several of these making the rounds yet again. In just the last week I have seen ones for Bud Light, Coors and Costco. There have probably been others. The problem is, the vast majority of these are phishing (or more specifically, clickjacking) scams. Think of it this way: if Costco was really giving away $75 on Facebook “today only” (with no date specified), how many people are going share and re-share that? It will quickly add up to a lot of money.

These scams are designed to get you to go to a questionable web site, where you’ll fill in some personal information, and never get anything for your efforts. However, you’ve now made it easier for someone to steal your identity, or hack into your bank account, or any number of things that are harmful. Worse, by re-posting it, you are putting your friends and family at risk, too.

Facebook in my opinion doesn’t do enough to prevent these. However, they do give you some tools to make an informed decision. With the Costco example, click on the (i) in the lower-right. That pulls up information about how old the web site is, whether it has a page on Facebook, when this meme was first shared, etc. If the web site is brand new, chances are extremely high that it is not legitimate. Images for this are below.

To put it a different way, if Costco was really giving away $75, why wouldn’t they use theirĀ own web site?

Please spend a little bit of time researching something before clicking on it or sharing it.

*I’m sure there are some legitimate things given away for free on Facebook with no strings attached. These are not among them.

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