If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Gah! I’m so aggravated that I have to interrupt my series on How to Stock a Bar to bring you this warning. Scammers and spammers are taking advantage of people nearest and dearest to my heart – IKEA Fans!
There are two types of swindles going on right now. We’ll refer to them as the Spammers and the Scammers. Let me just say upfront that while these sites may have what are ‘technically legitimate’ offers, the lengths to which they’ll go to scam or spam you are absurd. Remember what your grandma told you: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Without further ado, I bring you…
I first twigged to this scam when I started seeing numerous tweets from a couple of accounts on Twitter that were promoting $1K Gift Cards. All to the effect of ‘Wassup, tweeps! Get a $1000 IKEA Giftcard. Sign up now!’ with a link to BrandGiveawayCentre.com. If you mention ‘IKEA’ in a tweet, you’ll be auto-followed by one of these spammers; many a tweep has been fooled into thinking they’re being followed by a real IKEA Twitter account. Don’t be a fool!
The following bogus Twitter accounts are or have been associated with BrandGiveawayCenter: FavFurniture, IKEAOffer4U, IKEA_MegaBucks, IKEASpree, GiftCardIKEA, and IKEAGiveAway.
The last 4 accounts have been suspended by Twitter for the ubiquitous ’strange activity’, and the first two have popped up in their place – there are probably new ones already. These all link to BrandGiveawayCentre which purports to be a legitimate ‘giveaway’ company, but has numerous complaints around the web, like this one at Complaints Board. At the very least, their advertising tactics are deceptive and their marketing practices are spammy. Report spam to Twitter by following @spam, and then sending a Direct Message with the twitter account name responsible for the spamming.
The ad shown on the right up above was popping up on our site, and says ‘Must complete 7 offers,’ however, if you go to the website and read the fine print (PLEASE read the fine print), you’ll see that you must complete 13 ‘offers’, some of which require a purchase, a subscription or an ongoing obligation. You must do all of this within a specified timeframe without missing a beat or the whole gig’s off and your personal information is out there in the wilds. Good luck getting it back.
A major spam site is operating under the aliases, myrewardsvault.com, my-rewardsvault.com, and ikea-coupons.com among others and they’re growing at a frightening rate*.
Jason Kownacki first posted about this spam scam involving multiple Twitter accounts here: Calling Bullsh** on Twitter a week or so ago. Multiple bogus accounts tweet and retweet the same or very similar tweets over and over ad infinitum.
Including a hot topic keyword like ‘republicans’ or iTunes, or a trending topic keyword such as #thickchicks, ensures this spammer plenty of clicks through massive exposure to a wide variety of Twitter search users. Unless you search for ‘IKEA’, you’d never see the aggregate search results that I pulled up right – you’d might see one if you clicked on the trending topic, ‘American Idol’. These 15 spam tweets pictured right came in over the course of only 8 minutes on a recent Wednesday night. Holy spam, Batman!
Just tonight, while I typed this post up, I found the following accounts spamming Twitter: RosalieEdmundso, AleenJuanitaBri, JoanLaJeuneEame, AminaAnyashong, ChungRamirezErn, Iracleemph4k, Shawnadrohmplef, SharikaEdmundso, HillaryIrago0mi, PhyllischeibyKa, MafaldaKingLaJe, LiBenoitsloorry, RoslynAlberthaD, AngeliqueFriedm, ChristieRayLesl, LiBenoitsloorry, Sumikogayruyno0, CarmeliaClarenc, MozellePearlsle, SheryllParnassu, ElinorbriruVero, LeonorchragRami, LacieMaryjoBarn, JacintaIleenMos, Delphaclerristd, MarhtadifionPea, Sharang1kishObe, and last but not least, TonythosRussell. Report spam to Twitter by following @spam, and then sending a Direct Message with the twitter account name responsible for the spamming.
McAfee Security Center reports that if you visit myrewardsvault.com or their alias sites, and enter your email address, you have 35 spam emails per week to look forward to in your inbox. Check it out! This could be YOUR inbox:
I checked out myrewardsvault.com on Quantcast.com (@quantcast) which is a free service that tracks traffic and demographics as well as other statistical data for websites around the world. They also rank websites in terms of overall traffic. What’s VERY SCARY is that myrewardsvault’s traffic has skyrocketed since the beginning of July (perhaps when they first discovered Twitter?). The demographics show that the site visitors are largely younger, lower income peeps in the US with kids under 17 and no college education – sadly, just exactly the type of visitor you might expect to be easily suckered in to an easy, free giftcard.
Bottom line – don’t fall for a scam! If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Thanks, grandma.
* According to Quantcast.com, traffic to myrewardsvault.com has nearly doubled since July 1, 2009 bringing the total monthly US traffic to a staggering 514K visitors.