The Aldi gift card scam targeting us through Facebook

A new scam is targeting Aldi shoppers who use Facebook, leaving their most valuable personal information compromised. How can you avoid being targeted?

Numerous fake company pages are currently popping up over Facebook, each claiming to be the official online presence of Aldi. These pages, which borrowing the company’s identity, colours and imagery, can be startlingly easy to mistake for the real thing.

These pages generally offer free gift cards – such as “$100 off with a minimum $120 purchase” – in exchange for: (a) sharing the post on Facebook, and (b) following a link for further instructions.

Inevitably, this will cause the scam to spread through word-of-mouth before anybody realises it’s a dead end.

According to Snopes (an invaluable online resource dedicated to debunking false information online), these scams will usually take visitors to a survey website that asks for personal contact information, tricking you into signing up for credit card programs, mailing lists and other sales schemes.

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At best, it can place you at the mercy of numerous promoters and telemarketers who now have your contact details. On the more sinister end of the spectrum, a scam like this can compromise your most private information, potentially leaving you in financial risk.

This is, of course, massively illegal, and Facebook works around the clock to shut such scams down. Unfortunately, all they can do is simply delete a fake company page. More will inevitably spring up in its place.

This means, at least for the time being, that scams like this are an inevitable part of using Facebook regularly. How can we distinguish the real from the fake?

The Better Business Bureau offers a  helpful list of ways to identify a scam page:

  1. “Don’t believe what you see. It’s easy to steal the colours, logos and header of an established organsation. Scammers can also make links look like they lead to legitimate websites and emails appear to come from a different sender”.
  2. “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”.
  3. “When in doubt, do a quick web search. If the survey is a scam, you may find alerts or complaints from other consumers. The organisation’s real website may have further information”.
  4. “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”.

Have you seen this scam (or something similar) online? What other sneaky ways have you seen scammers use Facebook to prey on shoppers?