By Cesar Ortiz- (Article first published in Yahoo! Contributors/ABC News) Thousands of facebook users are receiving the following message "Eat for Free at Pizza Hut!" from one of their friends who unwillingly posted this scam message to all his or her friends. The scam leads to at least a one "Work at Home advertising" that is designed to steal a user's personal information. The scammers change the contact link so fast that when we did a test, several schemes of pay per click and user information request show up, but all use the "Free Pizza Hut Eat for Free" scheme. Users that fall into this trap receive the following message: Beginning of quote
Eat for Free at Pizza Hut!
[LINK] changes to avoid facebook ban detection
Take advantage of this special Pizza Hut offer! Receive a FREE pizza coupon today! Act quickly before the supply runs out. With only a few coupons left, they'll go fast!
xx minutes ago
End of quote
The scammers went with very professional looking Pizza Hut Logos and graphics that will deceive someone that is in a hurry, don't read security blogs to know what is ahead, or is not very suspicious of scams. Users who receive this message from one of their friends will be taken to a very professional looking web page with a super pretty Pizza Hut logo that explains "that the offer will expire in a certain date or when the remaining xxx offers have been given out!".
In the same graphic, users are then presented with a two step option:
Step 1 is to click the "Share" button. At that point and time victims are sending the scam to all their friends, therefore propagating the scam all over the Internet.
Step 2 is to type "The greatest food!" at the "comments" window. Doing this step redirects your browser to a third party page (pay per click money for the scammers). Users are then taken to a "Work at Home" advertising page that before you make "Tons of Cash" you have to give the following data: Fist Name, Last Name, Address, Country, State, City, Postal Code, e-mail and Phone. After you provide all the information, there is no more communications from the web page and of course, there is no free Pizza Hut offer. As the saying goes, "There is no such thing as a free lunch."
What the scammers do with all the personal information provided is anybody's guess.
Users who fall into this trap should do the following steps:
- (1) Remove any related items from your Facebook newsfeed wall page (2) Notify your friends and make sure you explain that you sent them the scam posting unwillingly (3) Run your Anti-Virus in full mode and set it to real-time scanning.
Opinion by the author - facebook bans scamming addresses (URL's), but scammers change them so fast that is very hard to cope with; incidentally, someone is using the Pizza Hut Logo in an illegal scam all over the Internet, Where is Pizza Hut or parent company Yum! Brands, Inc. the world's largest restaurant company? There is no mention of the scam on the Pizza Hut Facebook page. At least, they can publish a disclaimer or a warning regarding the scam. They sure have the money to hire resources to track this people using their trademark's logo in illegal internet scams. Are they waiting for someone to sue? If someone uses the Pizza Hut logo illegally in a newspaper or a media outlet outside the Internet, it will be a matter of hours before an army Yum! Brands, Inc. lawyers jump into action, why not do the same when it is on the Internet? Pizza Hut and other brands that know that scammers use their trademarks may not be legally bound to do anything, but practically and morally they are.