(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

Nelson police make drug bust in Railtown

Drugs, weapons and stolen property were among the items found

Nelson and COVID-19: everything you need to know

Check this page for every local story related to the outbreak

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

As 240K apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

Wearing non-medical masks can stop spread of COVID-19 before symptoms start: Tam

Health officials had previously not recommended wearing them

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Easter Bunny not a COVID-19 carrier, allowed to do drop offs

World Health Organization grants permission to Bunny as he cannot transfer the virus

COVID-19 world update: 1,000 cases hit U.S. military; Good news in Spain, Portugal

Comprehensive collection of coronavirus news from around the world

Most Read