CONSUMER ALERT: Lowe’s Mother’s Day coupon is a scam

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Another Facebook scam is making the rounds.

A Facebook post has been circulating claiming Lowe’s is offering $50 coupons for Mother’s day. After clicking the post users are directed to take a survey on a website that looks like Lowe’s website, but in reality is a fraudulent page.

Lowe’s said the offer is a phishing scam to gather information and is not affiliated with them in any way. As a result of a similar coupon scam, Lowe’s responded by issuing this statement:

“Please be careful when responding to any pop-up ad either online or via social media; as, more often than not, the offer of gift cards or other prizes to customers in the guise of a specific company are set up to get your personal information for nefarious purposes.”

The scam requires victims to pass it to their friends, officials say.

Similar coupons have circulated Facebook for companies such as Hawaiian Airlines, Home Depot, Amazon, and Starbucks. The URLs on the offers are clearly unaffiliated with the legitimate websites.

Starbucks said in a statement, “There is a scam on Facebook offering a free $50 Starbucks Card. Don’t click on it, it isn’t real.”

Amazon encourages customers to be aware of website addresses and to get acquainted with the type of information the company would not ask for from a customer.

Amazon will never ask you for the following information in an e-mail communication:

  • Your social security number or tax identification number
  • Your bank account information, credit card number, PIN number, or credit card security code (including “updates” to any of the above)
  • Your mother’s maiden name or other information to identify you (such as your birth city or your favorite pet’s name)
  • Your Amazon.com password

“Some phishers set up spoofed websites that contain the word ‘Amazon’ somewhere in the URL. Genuine Amazon websites always end with ‘.amazon.com’ — that is, ‘www.amazon.com. We never use a combination such as ‘security-amazon.com’ or ‘amazon.com.biz,’” Amazon in a statement.

The Better Business Bureau has issued five tips on how to avoid online scams:

  • Don’t believe what you see. It’s easy to steal the colors, logos, and header of any other 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 for coupons or giveaways. 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 giveaway is a scam, this is likely to reveal an alert or bring you to the organization’s real website, where they may have posted further information.
  • Watch out for a reward that’s too good to be true. Businesses typically give out small discounts to entice customers. If the offer seems too good to be true (a $100 voucher or 50% discount) it may be a scam.
  • Look for a mismatched subject line and email body. Many of these scams have an email subject line promising one thing, but the content of the email is something completely different.

If you’ve been a victim of this scam, report it to local law enforcement.

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