FRAUD ALERT! Facebook link promising free Hersheypark tickets another scam

Hersheypark.jpg

If you're a savvy shopper always looking out for a deal or a family looking to have a good time on a budget, beware of this promotion offering a free "gift" of five free tickets to Hersheypark that is popping up on Facebook feeds across the state!

The Facebook post may have been shared by your very best friend who is normally hip to social media happenings, but it is still a scam.

Here's what to look out for:

  • The post caption says "thanks #Hersheypark" or "thanks #Knoebels" --> If more than one of your friends have shared it, you'll notice the captions are identical.
  • It says Hersheypark gifting 5 Freee tickets Per family to celebrate its 50th year of quality service --> Please note the out-of-place capitalization

Here's the simple trick that immediately lets you know it's a fraud in disguise. Just check the URL.

Often times the URL linked in the post will contain the company name along with a string of letters/numbers and lead to a site other than the company's official page. Real coupons will always be linked to the company's official website.

In this case, the link at the bottom says "Parkstimemay.com" For reference, the company's official website is http://www.hersheypark.com/.

Still not convinced? Still holding out hope for your five free tickets? Don't click the link!

If you do, you open yourself up to even more cyber security issues. Here's the proof:

You will be directed to a survey page. Once you complete the three seemingly harmless questions, you'll be redirected to a page where you'll forever be stuck in "verifying steps." Don't be fooled by the posts at the bottom from people saying they received the free tickets -- They're bots!

And please, for the sake of all of your friends, do not hit the share button!

Posts about the fake freebies take over social media feeds so often the Better Business Bureau devoted an entire section warning about the claims.

Here's what they say:

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

So, now that you know these tricks, refrain from hitting the "share" button. It may seem like you're spreading the wealth, but really you could be opening up yourself and friends to the possibility of viruses or ransomware.

But while we're on the topic .... These coupons/posts are scams, as well. If you're going to share anything, share the knowledge!

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