(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

(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

Stephanie Cadieux, recently re-elected as MLA for Surrey South, has been named BC Liberal Caucus Chair. (contributed photo)
Surrey South MLA Stephanie Cadieux named Liberal caucus chair

Longtime MLA confident BC Liberals will present an effective opposition

The 3D Digital Breast Tomosynthesis Mammography machine, new to the Surrey Breast Health Clinic at the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre. (submitted photo)
New 3D breast-cancer technology in Surrey ‘has already helped so many women’

Digital breast tomosynthesis new to Surrey Breast Health Clinic

Anita Huberman, CEO Surrey Board of Trade. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey Board of Trade calls for ‘immediate’ government help for businesses shut down

‘Don’t punish all businesses for the sins of a few,’ CEO Anita Huberman says

Gurdawara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar in Surrey is warning the public of a possible COVID-19 exposure at the temple between Nov. 18 and 20. (Photo: Google Street View)
Surrey gurdwara warns of possible COVID-19 exposure

Facebook post says individual was at the temple Nov. 18 to 20

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

(Pixabay.com)
Man, 28, warned by Kootenay police to stop asking people to marry him

A woman initially reported the incident to police before they discovered others had been popped the question

Winston Blackmore (left) and James Oler (right) were sentenced on separate charges of polygamy this week in Cranbrook Supreme Court.
No more charges expected in Bountiful investigation, special prosecutor says

Special prosecutor says mandate has ended following review of evidence from Bountiful investigations

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

BC Teachers' Federation President Teri Mooring is asking parents of school-aged children to encourage the wearing of masks when possible in schools. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
LETTER: Teachers union encourages culture of mask wearing in B.C. schools

BCTF President Teri Mooring asks parents to talk with children about wearing masks in school

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Police lights
Vancouver elementary school locked down after unknown man walks into classroom

Police arrested the man and sent him for a psych evaluation

Most Read