SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Cyber scammers are trying to trick people by offering supposedly free coupons.
You may have seen them in your Facebook feed, coupons offering $75 off at Bed, Bath & Beyond, or $50 at Lowe’s or Home Depot.
The coupons look real and may have been shared by a friend. But think twice before you click.
“This is all a complete scam,”says Scott N. Schober, President and CEO of Berkeley Varitronics Systems.
Schober is a cyber security expert and says the coupons circulating online are actually part of a reoccurring scam.
The first red flag is that when you click the link to redeem the coupon, you’re taken to a survey.
But after an innocent looking survey you’re hit with problematic pop-ups, asking you to download potentially malicious files or hand over personal information.
Schober said, “Once you have somebody’s full information: their name, their address and especially if they are willing to give up a birthday, credit card information you can do a ton of damage to somebody.”
And the key to spreading the scam is that they make you believe, before you can collect you must share the coupon with your friends.
Bed, Bath & Beyond posted a warning on Facebook. Retailer Ross says it is “working with Facebook to shut down the unauthorized offer and associated posts.”
One way to quickly spot a scam is by looking at the url.
One scam site says homedepot.com, but then the url goes on to end in .us, which is a telltale sign.
“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true,” Schober said.
To protect your friends, think twice before sharing links. Protect yourself by never downloading files or sharing sensitive information, no matter how good the offer.
Logos, coupons and websites are all easy to copy or forge and the Better Business Bureau notes that few businesses can afford to give away $50 gift cards in exchange for answering a few questions.