April 13, 2010, 12:00 AM

An Ikea gift card proved to be bait for a Facebook scam

A Facebook page offering the site`s fans a $1,000 Ikea gift card lured nearly 40,000 Facebook users Friday. The page directed consumers to another site that asked them to provide personal information and to sign up for marketing offers.

A Facebook page offering the site`s fans a $1,000 Ikea gift card lured nearly 40,000 unsuspecting Facebook users Friday. The page directed consumers to another site, GiftDepotDirect.com, which sought to persuade them to provide personal information, such as their name, address and date of birth, as well as sign up for marketing offers.

The fake Ikea gift card page first appeared on Facebook users on Friday. To receive the card, users had to become fans of the page. The page also encouraged fans to invite friends to become fans. Estimates put the number of Facebook users who signed up as fans at between 37,000 and 40,000.

A Facebook spokesman declines to confirm the number of individuals who signed up for the fake Ikea page. He says Facebook investigators have spotted similar scams involving phony offers purporting to come from several other retailers. The investigative team removes such sites when Facebook detects them or users report them.

“This particular scam is happening on a relatively minor scale, especially since we’re quickly removing the groups and pages in many case before they go viral,” he says. “We advise people to be suspicious of anything that looks or feels strange online, whether it’s an unfamiliar link in a message from a friend who hasn’t contacted you in a while, or a promise of something valuable if you take a certain action or provide personal information. It’s a good idea to also check with the retailer whose gift cards are being offered to verify the offer is legitimate.”

Neither Ikea nor GiftDepotDirect.com responded to requests for comment.

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