Target name hijacked by Facebook faux

By By Amy Kellow | 22 June 2012

Global retailer Target has been the subject of a social networking scam in the form of "free $250 gift card" offers for its consumers on Facebook.

The supposed offer, which was set up as an event, asked users to join the group and then share it with 500 Facebook friends in order to redeem the offer. It claimed that once Target had verified the 'sharing', a private message would be sent to users' accounts enclosing further details and a ticket code.

The Australian arm of the brand has been affected by the hoax, taking to its Facebook page to disown the offer. It posted messages which said: "In the interest of your online safety, we wanted to let you know that there is currently a link to an untrustworthy application circulating around Facebook which says that Target gift cards in varying amounts are being given away.

"Please be advised that Target Australia has no affiliation with this and we urge you to approach any messages of this nature with caution and to never provide your personal details when in doubt."

An hour later, the brand posted a picture of the offer in question and stated: "It is important to note that Target Australia do have some promotions running at the moment that offer Target gift cards as prizes. The one that you should avoid appears below."

The retailer has this week kicked off its annual toy sale, and urged consumers to contact Target to clear any confusion. It added: "Please note that when we do run promotions, they are accessible only on, our ‘Right on Target’ enews or through our Facebook page."

AdNews had been contacted by an external source enquiring about the offer's legitimacy, and commented that they "probably wouldn't have taken part if it wasn't Target" and this made them think it less likely to be a scam. 

The event, which has now changed locations on Facebook and been re-named 'Target Gift Card Giveaway Bonanaza', originally invited over 121,600 users and had an attendance of more than 3,580. The new page has a current attendance of only 53 people, but has invited a hopeful 4000.

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