If you saw a link from a friend or family member on Facebook, would you assume it’s legitimate? After all, you probably trust their judgement.

But if they post a link to a free gift card, it could actually be online voucher fraud. This is a scam to trick you into giving out your personal information – and it can be very convincing.

It’s not always easy to tell if a post on Facebook or Twitter is a scam or if it’s the real deal. And if you let your guard slip, the scammers could easily access important details. We’ll take you through what online voucher fraud is and how you can stay secure on Facebook.

What is online voucher fraud?

It’s usually easy to avoid scam emails nowadays. They typically come from fake email addresses and most of us are getting wise to the warning signs. For example, if an email asks you to send money or to click on a link you don’t recognise, you don’t trust it.

But if someone you know shares a link to a free gift voucher, you might not have your guard up in the same way. In fact, it’s likely that they’ve fallen for online voucher fraud. And if you click through to the survey, you could be a victim of the scam too.

These online voucher fraud scams have appeared in the news quite a lot recently. For example, Lidl spoke out after a fake gift card link did the rounds on Facebook. And earlier this year, Aldi had to warn customers on Twitter to avoid another scam voucher link.

The scams vary slightly but they’ll usually ask you to fill in an online survey. If you do this, the site promises you’ll get a free voucher or gift card. In reality, it could let scammers access your Facebook page, install a virus on your mobile or computer, or even steal your sensitive data.

Staying safe on Facebook

It’s always a good idea to question everything you see on Facebook if you’re not sure where it’s come from. And remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

To help you avoid scams on Facebook, we’ve put together a few top tips for staying safe on social media.

  1. Be wary of links you see on social media. Even if a trusted friend posted it, this doesn’t mean it’s safe.
  2. Check the website or Facebook page of whoever the online voucher claims to be from. If the company is really running a promotion, they’ll usually say so.
  3. If a survey asks for your personal or financial information like passwords or PINs, it’s probably a scam.
  4. Don’t panic if you think you’ve fallen for online voucher fraud. Report it to Action Fraud – that’s the police’s cyber crime unit.

Not all links to surveys are scams though. Read our blog to find out how you could make money with legitimate online surveys.