In January 2015, links began circulating on Facebook promising users free lifetime passes to popular fast food outlets such as KFC, McDonald's, Wendy's, Starbucks, Subway, and Burger King, typically presented as promotions offered in celebration of the brands' purported anniversaries:
As noted, the visible URLs in the above-reproduced images don't belong to any official domains owned by these fast food chains. The ads are survey/sweepstakes scams that urge users to share their enticements via Facebook in order to recruit friends to further the fake promotions and dupe visitors into subscribing to various expensive offers to claim their "free" passes.Most social media users are familiar with survey scams conducted in this fashion: Kohl's, Costco, Home Depot, Lowe's,Kroger, Best Buy, Macy's, Olive Garden, Publix, Target, and Walmart are among retailers used as bait by scammers, with many of these scams aiming to capture personal information and valuable page likes from Facebook users.
A July 2014 article from the Better Business Bureau explained how users can spot and avoid scammers imitating high-profile brands on social media:
Don't believe what you see. It's easy to steal the colors, logos and header of an established organization. Scammers can also make links look like they lead to legitimate websites and emails appear to come from a different sender.
When in doubt, do a quick web search. If the survey is a scam, you may find alerts or complaints from other consumers. The organization's real website may have further information.
Watch out for a reward that's too good to be true. If the survey is real, you may be entered in a drawing to win a gift card or receive a small discount off your next purchase. Few businesses can afford to give away $50 gift cards for completing a few questions.
A nearly identical scam common in October 2015 promised a lifetime pass to Starbucks in the same manner. Many users who completed the steps were dismayed to discover that no such reward awaited them.