In late January and early February 2016, Facebook users began sharing the above-reproduced link or similar versions, all of which promised a Wegmans coupon good for $200 off purchases to users who completed a short series of steps.
The embedded links often pointed to a URL not associated with Wegmans, as in the example above, where the word "Wegmans" appears alongside a lengthy string of unrelated characters. Users who attempted to complete the steps and claim the coupon were directed to a page titled "Wegmans is Giving-away Free $200 Grocery Coupon (limited time offer)".
Although the page resembled content hosted on Facebook, the URL didn't match the social network. The landing page was familiar to all who had encountered similar scams in the past:
On 1 February 2016, Wegmans' official Facebook page shared the following update warning customers about the coupon scam:
Coupon scams of this variety appear with regularity on Facebook; Kohl's, Costco, Home Depot, Lowe's, Kroger, Best Buy, Macy's, Olive Garden, Publix, Target, and Walmart are among retailers scammers impersonated in order to bait social media users into providing personal information, and recruiting others to do the same.
A July 2014 Better Business Bureau article warned shoppers about survey and coupon scams operating in that fashion:
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.