Fact Check

Free Starbucks Gift Card Scam

Promises of free Starbucks gift cards to Facebook users are part of a long-running online scam.

Published Oct 18, 2011

Image Via Shutterstock
Starbucks is awarding social media users free gift cards who click, like, and share Facebook posts.

For years survey scams run on social media platforms have purported to offer free $50 or $100 Starbucks gift cards to those users who clicked particular links, then followed a set of instructions presented at the click-through destination page:

starbucks is providing a free $50 coupon to everyone to celebrate 45th anniversary

Those who went in search of the promised freebies were asked to click what appeared to be Facebook "share" buttons and post comments to the scammer's site. But following such instructions led users into a series of surveys they were instructed to complete (which typically involved providing a good deal of personal information and agreeing to buy several pricey products and/or sign up for hefty subscriptions) before their gift cards could be sent to them. As always with such cons, there were no gift cards to be had.

Users who clicked such links were usually taken to a "survey" rife with typographical errors, any combination of which would result in their purportedly winning a $50 gift card -- so long as the user liked, shared, and spread the link on Facebook:

More information about this specific type of scam can be found here.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.