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updated 10/26/2011 1:19:30 PM ET 2011-10-26T17:19:30

With a new Facebook scam promising a free Cheesecake Factory meal, Internet crooks are going after your wallet by appealing to your appetite.

A bogus offer has been spreading through Facebook saying that Cheesecake Factory has decided to kick off the holiday season early by giving away free dinners to its Facebook fans. The message, spotted by the website Facecrooks, claims that the offer expires today (Oct. 26) "or when the remaining FREE gift cards run out!"

To claim your prize, all you have to do is click the "share" button and add a comment saying "Thanks." Following these directions helps keep the scam spreading by giving it the appearance of legitimacy — if it comes from a friend, who took the time to comment on it, it must be safe, right?

Not exactly: the link embedded in the message directs your browser to another Web page that promises a "Free $100 Cheesecake Factory Gift Card" in exchange for filling out a quick survey to "see if you qualify."

That's where the scam picks up steam, Facecrooks said. The survey mandates that users provide their name, address, phone numbers and date of birth. "This will enable the shady marketers to not only spam your Facebook account, but also harass you via snail mail, phone calls and text messages," Facecrooks wrote.

Another offer, just as enticing and just as harmful, is also making its way around Facebook today: this one disguises itself as a Mario Kart video game you can play with your friends. Following the instructions of this phony offer will leave you in a similar situation, asked to fill out a survey. In this case, the survey claims it will enter you in a contest to win the iPhone 5, which, of course, does not exist.

Facecrooks recommends removing any mention of either of these scams from your newsfeed and profile. If you come across an offer that seems fishy, or appears to be spreading rapidly across Facebook, ignore it, and never hand over your personal information to any third-party Web pages, especially on Facebook.

© 2012 SecurityNewsDaily. All rights reserved

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