Fry-You-Later

Popular fast food outlets aren't giving away free lifetime passes to celebrate their anniversaries. Such offers are survey scams.


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:

free lifetime pass KFC
BK free lifetime pass
wendy's free lifetime pass
The embedded links led to several URLs, and users who clicked through on them to claim the promised lifetime passes were routed to a pages that cloned the style of Facebook-based content (but were hosted off Facebook):

McDonald_s_is_Giving-away_Free_Lifetime_Pass_on_it_s_61st_Anniversary__limited_time_offer_KFC_is_Giving-away_Free_Lifetime_Pass_on_it_s_85th_Anniversary__limited_time_offer_
Burger_King_is_Giving-away_Free_Lifetime_Pass_on_it_s_61st_Anniversary__limited_time_offer_Wendy_s_is_Giving-away_Free_Lifetime_Pass_on_it_s_46th_Anniversary__limited_time_offer_

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.

Legitimate businesses do not ask for credit card numbers or banking information on customer surveys. If they do ask for personal information, like an address or email, be sure there's a link to their privacy policy.

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.

Kim LaCapria is a New York-based content manager and longtime snopes.com message board participant. Although she was investigated and found to be "probably false" by snopes.com in early 2002, Kim later began writing for the site due to an executive order unilaterally passed by President Obama during a secret, late-night session (without the approval of Congress). Click like and share if you think this is an egregious example of legislative overreach.



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