Hey, have you heard that Lululemon/Zara Canada/your favourite retailer is giving away a $100 gift card to its first 50,000 fans on Instagram? All you have to do is hit “Follow,” and/or give them a shoutout in Stories, and/or tag a friend.
If that sounds a bit too good to be true, well, ding ding ding. It’s most definitely an Instagram scam, and it’s trending.
Here’s how it works: some rando will set up an account pretending to be a popular brand offering a sweet giveaway—their goal being to harvest a massive following, pronto. As soon as they’ve “built” an audience for whatever they really plan to promote, they’ll change the username, and repeat the whole shtick. (While hitting “Follow” may seem harmless, if you’re also asked to click some dodgy “link in bio,” RED FLAG.)
Most recently, social-media scammers promising gift cards have imitated ASOS, Zara Canada (nope, @zara.official.canada is not legit) and Lululemon (don’t fall for @lulu.offer or @lululemon.offer either).
In reply to people asking about the suspect accounts, the real Lululemon (that would be @lululemon) issued a fact check:
So, how to tell if an Instagram offer is phony?
If the account lacks the official blue checkmark, if the writing needs a proofreader or seems weirdly off-brand in tone, and if the math is hilarious ($100 gift card x 50,000 = $5 million for one Instagram promo?), we call bogus.