Fact Check

Target Voucher/Gift Card Scam

Target is distributing free $500 vouchers or $1000 gift cards to users who click an online link or answer a text mail?

Published Nov 21, 2012

Claim:   Target is distributing free $500 vouchers or $1000 gift cards to users who click an online link.



[Collected via e-mail, November 2012]

There is a Facebook post that states if you share a Target ad that says get a free $500 Target voucher, write the comment, "Thank you Target" and the click like you will get a voucher for that amount.

Get Free $500 target voucher Now (97 Left)

text message received:

"Your entry last month has WON! Go to https://targetcontest.com/ and enter code 4787 to claim your FREE $1000 Target Gift Card within 24 hours!"


Origins:   In mid-November 2012, a survey scam purporting to offer free $500 Target vouchers or $1000 gift cards to those who followed particular links then did as told once there spread via e-mail, Facebook, and text message.

Those links led to web pages (which were not operated or sponsored by Target) that asked the unwary to click what appeared to be Facebook "share" buttons and post comments to the scammer's site (which was really a ruse to dupe users into spreading the scam by sharing it with all of their Facebook friends). Those who followed such instructions were then led into a set of pages prompting them to input a fair amount of personal information (including name, age, address, and phone numbers), complete a lengthy series of surveys, and finally sign up (and commit to paying) for at least two "Reward Offers" (e.g., Netflix subscriptions, credit report monitoring services, prepaid credit cards):

Pursuant to the Terms & Conditions, you are required to complete 2 of the Reward Offers from the above. You will need to meet all of the terms and conditions to qualify for the shipment of the reward. For credit card offers, you must activate your card by making a purchase, transferring a balance, or making a cash advance. For loan offers you must close and fund the loan. For home security and satellite tv offers you must have the product installed. You may not cancel your participation in more than a total of 2 Reward Offers within 30 days of any Reward Offer Sign-Up Date as outlined in the Terms & Conditions (the Cancellation Limit).

Not only that, but the fine print on the "free" gift card offer stated that by accepting its terms, the user agreed to receive telemarketing phone calls and text messages from a variety of different companies.

Other recent survey scams of similar construction include:

  • $500 or $1,000 Target gift cards [November 2012]
  • $100 or $1,000 Walmart gift cards [March 2012]
  • $50 or $100 Starbucks gift cards [October 2011]
  • $25 Tim Hortons gift cards [October 2011]
  • Apple iPods, iPhones, or MacBooks in memory of Steve Jobs [October 2011]

Last updated:   24 November 2012


    Spilewsky, Olga.   "Walmart Warns of Texting Scam That Promises $1,000 Gift Card."

    NBC-4 [Los Angeles].   25 April 2012.

    CBS 4 [Denver].   "Walmart Gift Card Text Hits Phones Across Denver Metro Area."

    7 March 2012.

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