Have you ever seen those ads on Facebook that offer a free $1,000 IKEA gift card or tweets on Twitter that says you can get the Apple iPad for free? These are all fake offers. They exist to collect your personal information and possibly flood you with spam messages at a later date.
The old rule "if it is too good to be true...." applies here. That is the case with these new ads and tweets on social networks offering either the iPad for free as shown in Figure 1 or a $1,000 IKEA gift card shown in Figure 2 below. We found that some of these advertisements will redirect users to websites that attempt to keep their interest and never really get to the initial offer for a free gift card or iPad. Instead, they may offer your entry into an online game for a fee.
Figure 1. Free Apple iPad Ad Scam
Figure 2. IKEA $1,000 Gift Card Ad Scam
This can be compared to phishing scams that are designed to spread malware through spam messages. Just think, they are collecting your personal information along with your email. They can send you virtually any type of email message that may end up leading you to a malicious site that can cause damage to your system or even worst, steal your identity.
Some of these ads were found to take computer users to lottery sites where they may be tempted to deposit money for playing online casino games. Not only will the user be spending their own money, but they will never see that $1000 gift card or Apple iPad. The lead-on from these rip-off scams are virtually endless.
Data theft is a clever tactic that cybercrooks purposely design to take advantage of gullible computer users. Who does not want a free $1,000 IKEA gift card or the new Apple iPad for free? It always sounds enticing but the end result sometimes is not so pleasant.
Have you ever clicked an advertisement on Facebook that says "Get the Apple iPad FREE" (Figure 1.) or "Free $1,000 IKEA Gift Card" (Figure 2.)? Did you get a free iPad or gift card? Chances are you didn't.