Fact Check

SCAM ALERT: Tim Hortons 57th Anniversary Giveaway

A copypasta offer appeared too good to be true.

Published Mar 24, 2021

Fast food chain Tim Hortons is giving away a hamper full of "surprises" and a gift card to celebrate its 57th anniversary.

In late March 2021, Facebook users shared a copypasta meme promising that Tim Hortons, a Canadian fast food chain, would give away a hamper full of "surprises that will make your heart flutter" and a $60 dollar gift card in commemoration of the company's 57th anniversary. All users had to share the post and comment on it.

Here's an example of the post, with the user's name cropped out for privacy:

The text of the post reads:

"Tim Hortons is going to celebrate its 57th anniversary on March 24, 2021, and In order to help our loyal customers every single person who has shared & commented before 5PM Wednesday will be sent one of these hampers containing a $60 gift-card plus surprises that will make your heart flutter!"

Tim Hortons does offer occasional promotions on its official Facebook page, but those promotions don't involve prompting customers to share posts or comment on posts.

The post pictured above isn't a legitimate offer from Tim Hortons. It's a type of scam the Better Business Bureau calls "like farming." The purpose of this type of scam is as follows, according to the BBB:

As with many scams, like-farming has several different aims. When scammers ask you to “register” in order to win something or claim an offer, this is a way to steal your personal information. Other versions can be more complex. Often, the post itself is initially harmless – albeit completely fictional. But when the scammer collects enough likes and shares, they will edit the post and could add something malicious, such as a link to a website that downloads malware to your machine. Other times, once scammers reach their target number of likes, they strip the page’s original content and use it to promote spammy products. They may also resell the page on the black market. These buyers can use it to spam followers or harvest the information Facebook provides.

Bethania Palma is a journalist from the Los Angeles area who started her career as a daily newspaper reporter and has covered everything from crime to government to national politics. She has written for ... read more