As the saying goes, “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch,” Malaysians better be cautious of the rampant scam circulating on WhatsApp lately where McDonald’s Malaysia purportedly promised to give you vouchers of free Big Mac (beef burger).
The scam led users to follow a very similar-looking URL and thumbnail but once clicked into it, it would bring you to mcdonalds.corn rather than .com. The site had a similar look-and-feel to McDonald’s official webpage and it claimed users would get 10 Big Macs for free after completing a short survey and share it to 20 friends via WhatsApp.
In a press release on October 26, McDonald’s Malaysia clarified that the fast-food chain playe no part i the burger giveaway and confirmed that it was fake.
“We have been informed of a purported promotional post by McDonald’s® that claims to give out free McDonald’s® Big Mac to celebrate 50 years of Big Mac.
“We wish to clarify that this post is a scam and is not authorised by McDonald’s® in any way,” McDonald’s wrote and as posted on its Facebook page.
This isn’t the first time we have seen such a modus operandi going about on the Internet. According to BBC and Independent UK, it also happened to brands like Asda, Topshop, Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Asda, Nike, Lidl, Aldi and Singapore Airlines.
The syndicates used Latin letters in the URLs such as alḍi.com. Notice there’s a dot under the “d”. As for Tesco, the fraudulent link spelt as such “tesċo.com”.
Action Fraud, a UK anti-cybercrime police department, said these sites could enable the syndicates to install cookies on unsuspecting users’ browser that track their online activities.
While in the United States, Starbucks was also a victim of such a scam. After the viral incident which saw two black men being arrested at one of their stores Philadelphia, controversial site 4chan started a hoax whereby Starbucks would give “people of color” or “African-American heritage” free drinks nationwide.
They circulated various convincing giveaway posters on the Internet with a QR code that linked to a website page that translates the code as the n-word, Business Insider reported.
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