Social media may be a primary source of information for many, but it can also be a fertile ground for scam artists to run amok. An eye-catching post can quickly go viral, even if the information is false or misleading. Con artists can also use these posts to try to steal money or personal information.
One of the latest targets was San Antonio-based grocery chain HEB. According to multiple news outlets, a promotion began appearing on Facebook feeds earlier this month offering a $200 voucher to 1,000 HEB customers in celebration of the company’s birthday. According to the reports, the promotion says, “Here at HEB we appreciate our customers. That’s why we decided to giveaway 1000 Gift Vouchers (200$ each) for free! All you need to do is give us your email to send it, and answer few questions. So, hurry up!”
When users click on the post, it takes them to the website “hebpromotion.com.” The website seems legitimate at first glance, however, Better Business Bureau checked out the site and immediately noticed a few red flags.
For starters, the web address does not contain “https://” at the beginning, indicating it is not a secure website. This should one of the first things a user looks for when determining the security and legitimacy of a website.
Second, the website is littered with grammatical errors and even contains a photo where the photographer’s finger shows up in the corner of the frame. Here is an example of a paragraph taken directly from the website:
“Customers buy from people who like it. So behave so that you are pleased with as many of your potential customers as possible. Avoid being brutal, rude or anxious. Strive to be polite all the time and smile on your lips.”
As you might notice, this paragraph contains numerous grammatical errors. This is a major red flag. An HEB spokesperson also confirmed the promotion and website were fake.
This is just one example of the many ways scammers target online users. According to BBB’s Risk Index Report, online purchase scams are the number one riskiest scam, and with more people using the Internet for online shopping and a source for information, the ranking is not surprising.
You can find more tips on how to protect yourself online by going to bbb.org. Additionally, you can file a report on BBB Scam Tracker by going to bbb.org/scamtracker. It helps us stay informed on the latest strategies con artists might be using.