(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Grande trouble: BBB warns of bogus COVID-19 Starbucks gift card scam

Scammers disguise phishing scheme as COVID-19-related gift

That virtual gift card may look like a welcome blessing, but it could buy you is a bunch of trouble.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving mainland B.C. is warning the public to a new COVID-19-related phishing scam involving false Starbucks gift cards.

Scammers impersonate Starbucks by blasting mass emails, apologizing for store closures due to social distancing requirements and offering a virtual gift card via a link in the email. The link takes the potential victims to page where they are directed to fill out their personal information. BBB investigations also indicate that the links in the emails are malicious and suspicious; in addition to asking for personal information, they could also open the virtual door for hackers to compromise consumer devices.

RELATED: B.C. warns of phone scam offering to sell fake COVID-19 testing

“With more people now working remotely and are now accessing business networks from personal devices and internet connections that are not as secure, the risks are greater if your device gets compromised,” says Karla Laird, Manager for Community & Public Relations at BBB. “Think twice before opening unsolicited emails with strange links and attachments”.

Starbucks representatives confirmed the promotion is not valid. BBB encouraged consumers to confirm existing and upcoming promotions via the Starbucks app or by contacting a local store.

RELATED: RCMP warns of COVID-19 scams spreading through B.C.

To protect yourself against this and related scams, the BBB recommends the following:

Be careful about unsolicited emails. If the message appears to be from a company to which you’re not already subscribed, it could be a fake.

Never click on links in emails from strangers. Anonymous or unknown senders are a common red flag. Do not click, download or open it. This is possibly an attempt to install malware and harvest crucial personal information from your device.

If it sounds too good to be true, confirm it. Verify the email or offer by contacting the company directly or consulting their website (in the example above, physically typing starbucks.ca into your browser). By logging on to a company website through your personal account, it’s easy to verify if an offer you received via email is legitimate or not.

Be wary of generic emails. Scammers may sometimes leave emails intentionally vague in an effort to snare more people into their schemes. Unsolicited messages that don’t address you by name or user name in addition to messages with spelling or grammar errors should raise red flags.

Look before you click. Since life is becoming increasingly more virtual due to the need for social distancing, there will be an increased need for text or email communication. As such, it’s that much more important to inspect links by hovering over them with your mouse to see where it actually goes.

For more information about scams related to the coronavirus, visit www.bbb.org/coronavirus.



adam.louis@ahobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusScams

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Local war hero ceberating 100 years of life

Derek Beningfield records his grandfather’s history ahead of his 100th birthday on July 14

Editorial: Thanks for the memories

Sasha Sefter says farewell to our readers

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

RANCH MUSINGS: When the sun shines, kids and calves

It is not easy to witness the birth of a calf especially in a herd on a spacious pasture

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

Most Read