No. Amazon is not offering free gifts to all; that WhatsApp message is fake

Fake news tends to travel very fast on WhatsApp, and so do fake offers. The latest viral message claims to offer free gifts for all Amazon users as part of the e-commerce giant’s 30th anniversary. It also has a link, where Amazon is spelt incorrectly. We’ve also reached out to Amazon for a statement. The message appears to have gone viral on WhatsApp and is being shared across groups.

When we clicked on the link, it takes us to a survey, which even has the Amazon logo on it and can fool a lot of people. After filling the survey you then have to choose a box from a set of nine, and one has a present. The link then says that in order to claim the prize, the user needs to forward the link to 5 groups or 20 friends on WhatsApp.

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For instance when we clicked on the link, it claimed we had won the Huawei Mate Pro 40 Pro 5G variant, and wanted us to share the link with others. Of course, one should not forward the link further on WhatsApp. But this last bit could also explain why this message has gone viral on WhatsApp.

This is not the first viral message on WhatsApp which claims to offer free gifts from a brand, when it is far from the truth. Previously, we seen viral messages offering free Thermo Flask from Starbucks, free gifts from Adidas, tickets from airlines, etc. Such messages usually contain a link where the name of the brand is spelt incorrectly. Here’s how users can avoid such messages.

How to avoid such fake, scam messages

Look at the link in the message and see if the name of the brand is spelt correctly. For instance, in this Amazon message, the name in the url is spelt as “amazsocn,” which is incorrect.

Further, WhatsApp tends to label messages which are forwarded many times and if it has this label on top, you know this is one to avoid.

Another factor to note in these fake URLs is that they typically read http and not HTTPS in the beginning. The ‘S’ in the url is important, because it indicates secure. Phishing links, scam websites usually do not rely on secure protocol.

If the deals being offered are too good to be true, then it is likely fake. For instance, Amazon is unlikely to offer everyone free gifts as part of its anniversary celebrations, especially gifts such as expensive phones. More importantly, even if Amazon is offering free gifts, it will advertise this on the website, and not via WhatsApp. Remember, no brand will give away free phones via WhatsApp nor will Starbucks give free flasks.

Keep in mind that some of these links might try and trick you into share personal information such as credit or debit card details, your address, etc and you should avoid clicking on them.

Finally, if someone does forward a message about deals or offers, it is best to go to the official website and confirm. And if you find it is fake, do inform the person who shared the link about the same.

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