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Best Buy Gift Card: It's Not Free - It's a Scam!

written by: •edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 12/24/2010

If someone offered you $500 to shop at a particular store, what would you do?

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    No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

    Free gifts are great, aren’t they? However, they are also rare, usually shipping with another product, and often turning out to be next to useless. Yet they remain popular with retailers as they act as a carrot on a stick, a means to reel in a new buyer.

    Similar to free gifts are free gift cards, so called as they claim to be vouchers that can be exchanged for gifts. These items are supposedly plentiful and can be signed up for online, just by becoming a fan on Facebook.

    Except, of course, that they’re almost all a massive con, and splashing the names of popular retailers like Best Buy doesn’t change the fact that the free gift card scam is at best a waste of your time and at worst opens you up to identity fraud.

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    Best Buy Free Gift Card Scams on Facebook

    Best Buy Free Gift Card Scams on Facebook 

    As with most scams these days, this particular attempt at phishing has a home on Facebook. You might have noticed that friends have recently become fans of the Free $500 Best Buy Gift Card or you have spotted adverts referring to it.

    If you have spotted an ad, the chances are you have been targeted based on your age, sex, location or interests – this is how ads on Facebook work.

    Meanwhile if you noticed that a friend has become a fan of what they think is a great gift offer, the chances are that they are not only fans of the offer, they have signed up as well – which is where the trouble begins.

    (Image via Facebook.com)

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    Why the Best Buy Free Gift Card Scheme is a Scam

    Retailers often have competitions and these are great methods to raise awareness and promote the business. However, can you think of a single retailer who would realistically give away $500 on the web for anyone who signs up?

    While the exact purpose of this scam remains unclear, there are no reported cases of anyone having received such a gift card, never mind using one in exchange of goods from Best Buy.

    Indeed, Best Buy is not the only retailer whose name has been associated with such a scam. Whole Foods is another name that has been linked to these so-called free gift cards, although they took the trouble to deny involvement via Twitter.

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    How to Spot and Avoid the Best Buy Free Gift Card and Similar Scams

    Best Buy Free Gift Card Scams on Facebook 

    Keeping an eye out for these types of scams is vital if you are to retain your online security, not to mention your friends.

    Where these scams are most potent is on Facebook, where the scammers can profile their targets, tweak the scam to appeal to new victims and then offer the $500 free gift card to anyone who becomes a fan. By doing this, the new fans are then prompted to forward to share this information with all of their friends – a sure-fire indicator of a con.

    Now we might appear unfair here. There is no proof that this is a scam as there are no reports of anyone being ripped off, just as there are no reports of anyone receiving such a card. However while no one appears to have been scammed, their personal information (and that of the friends they might have referred) will be open to the scammers to make a record of. This is sophisticated phishing, and identity theft could be just around the corner…

    (Image from www.bestbuy.com)