If you're tired of cooking or all the holiday leftovers are finally gone, the chance to take your whole family to free meal at T.G.I. Friday's might sound enticing. But don't be fooled: There's no such thing as a free lunch (or dinner).
The scam-spotting site Facecrooks found the phony offer currently spreading around Facebook. The scam promises every single member of the giant social network a free $100 gift card to T.G.I. Friday's. That would be $100 to each of Facebook's roughly 800 million account holders.
A similar scam hit Facebook earlier this month in the form of a $100 Costco gift card. In both instances, the basic premise and attack route is the same. The wall post instructs users to post the gift card offer to their profiles and then to "like" it and share it with their friends, a tactic that keeps the scam spreading.
Victims are then taken to a Web page that asks them to input their names, email addresses, phone numbers and birth dates. Sound a little invasive?
"Don't let this slick-looking page fool you!" Facecrooks wrote. "As with any 'special offer,' you have to read the fine print. The 'Program Requirements' state that you have to complete a survey and a total of 8 sponsor offers."
Following the directions never gets you the $100 Friday's gift card, but it gives the Facebook fraudsters access to personal details they could use to compromise your identity.
To protect yourself, start by ignoring any offer that seems suspicious or tries to give you something free.
If you bit the bait, there's still hope: Remove any T.G.I. Friday's-related entries from your Facebook news feed and clear your profile of any unwanted "likes." Add a strong dose of anti-virus software to your basic Web common sense and you should be ready to fight off Facebook scammers.