Is Trader Joe's giving away a chance to get a $250 coupon to everyone? No, that's not true: a scam website is luring visitors by promising free merchandise in exchange for completing surveys, but the whole thing is a scam designed to steal personal information. The setup is similar to earlier scams targeting different brands.
The scam appeared in a post (archived here) on Facebook on April 28, 2020, under the title "Trader joe's has announced that everyoe who shares this link will receive $250 coupon! TODAY ONLY." It opened:
To help our loyal Customers, We are giving away chance to get $250 coupon to all
Please answer the question below first:
Question 1: Have you ever used Trader joe's before?
This is what the post looked like at the time of this writing:
This is what you'll see when you click the link:
The site is part of a larger network of scam websites that all operate in the same manner. First three questions are asked -- typically asking if you are satisified with some brand, if you have used their product or if you would recommend it to others. Three possible answers are offered each time: "Yes," "No" or "Don't remember."
No matter what answers are given, visitors are redirected to a screen that looks like this, inviting them to share and like the page on Facebook to claim the prize:
The comment form at the bottom is also fake: comments are automatically appearing, but they do not come from real people. The whole thing is scripted: if the page is reloaded, the same comments start appearing again. Clicking the share button does bring up a real share popup from Facebook, but it does not share the exact URL of the page: it varies the random-looking string of letters and numbers at the end, so that to Facebook, it will look like a new and different article that is being shared. This makes it harder to detect and do something about it, because each link needs to be individually reported and taken down.
Clicking the like button takes people through a series of redirects via various pages, probably depending on which ads or scams the people behind the site need to promote at the time. But no prize will show up at your door in the end.
The scammers behind the site regularily launch new sites targeting different brands and businesses, but they all look similar. Earlier versions we spotted were aimed at Dunkin' Donuts, JetBlue, Starbucks, Costco, Little Caesars, Alaska Airlines and Delta Airlines.