Claim: Free $100 Cheesecake Factory gift cards for all Facebook users.
Example:[Collected via e-mail, December 2011]
Eat at Cheesecake Factory for FREE! (limited time only)
Cheesecake Factory is currently giving away $100.00 gift cards to all facebook users!!
Origins: In December 2011, a survey scam purporting to offer free $100 Cheesecake Factory gift cards to those who follow particular links then do as told once there again spread via e-mail and Facebook. (A similar Cheesecake Factory gift card scam was afoot in October 2011). These links lead to web pages (which are not operated or sponsored by Cheesecake Factory) that display the Cheesecake Factory logo along with the entreaty to "Get a $100.00 FREE Cheesecake Factory Gift Card!" plus an embedded countdown counter purporting to display a rapidly reducing number of gift cards to be had. These pages ask the unwary to click what appear to be Facebook "like" buttons.
Folks who follow such instructions are then led into a set of pages prompting them to input a fair amount of personal information (including name, address, e-mail address, date of birth, and phone numbers), complete a lengthy series of surveys, and finally sign up (and commit to paying) for a number of "Reward Offers" that usually involve applying for credit cards or signing up for various paid subscription services.
The Cheesecake Factory said this of the scam on its Facebook page on 2 December 2011:
There's an offer circulating on Facebook giving away $100 Gift Cards to The Cheesecake Factory. This is a scam so please DO NOT click on the link. We're working to get this removed. Thank you!
Those intent upon snapping up free stuff via such lures should keep in mind that there is often a further downside to the process beyond their personal disappointment and the financial enrichment of the scam artists preying upon their gullibility: All too often such adventures in clickjacking also result in the download of trojans and other viruses onto the computers of those looking to score the promised goodies.
Other recent survey scams of similar construction include:
founded snopes.com in 1994, and under his guidance the company has pioneered a number of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone, the light bulb, beer pong, and a vaccine for a disease that has not yet been discovered. He is currently seeking political asylum in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.
Thank you for writing to us! Although we receive hundreds of e-mails every day, we really and truly read them all, and your comments, suggestions, and questions are most welcome. Unfortunately, we can manage to answer only a small fraction of our incoming mail.
Our site covers many of the items currently being plopped into inboxes everywhere, so if you were writing to ask us about something you just received, our search engine can probably help you find the very article you want.
Choose a few key words from the item you're looking for and click here to go to the search engine.
(Searching on whole phrases will often fail to produce matches because the text of many items is quite variable, so picking out one or two key words is the best strategy.)
We do reserve the right to use non-confidential material sent to us via this form on our site, but only after it has been stripped of any information that might identify the sender or any other individuals not party to this communication.