Surprise! You’re Not Getting A $250 Walmart Gift Card From That Facebook Link

Image courtesy of (Mike Mozart)

The offer of free money is hard to pass up, but, as we’ve warned before, those promises of hundreds of dollars worth of gift cards, a free car or trip, and other too-good-to-be-true offers are just that. The latest version of this scheme involves a $250 Walmart gift card.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Teresa Dixon Murray reminded consumers of the always evolving social media-gift card offer scheme this week after a reader questioned whether the offer of a $250 Walmart gift card was real.

“No, Walmart is not really offering free gift cards through Facebook links, or anything else,” Dixon Murray warned.

Instead, the Walmart offer is just another in a long line of scams that exist in order to get something else from users: access to their computers and any stored personal information, such as bank accounts and credit cards.

This particular Walmart post asked users to click on a link in order to receive their own $250 gift card.

The post, which is often shared from friends’ or family member accounts, reads: “Can’t believe I receive this offer on my Facebook account from a friend and I like to share it with you. I really enjoy going and shopping at Walmart they have great savings and everything that I need. If you want free $250 walmart gift card go on the link below an get the free card.”

Dixon Murray notes that by clicking on the link, Facebook users could be inviting a hacker into their account to send direct messages, post false information, or otherwise wreak havoc on their social media profile.

As for Walmart, the company has a dedicated Fraud Alert page warning customers about scams that might involve its name, but have nothing to do with the retailer.

For example, Walmart advises people not to open or respond to unsolicited emails, pop-up ads, or text messages. It also explicitly tells customers not to click on or respond to online ads or websites offering free gift cards.

The Walmart post serves as a good reminder that fraudsters like to take advantage of consumers’ desire for free things, whether it be free products, trips, airline tickets, or big-ticket coupons.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.