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Warning about fake Starbucks COVID-19 apology email with gift card offer
Published Friday, March 20, 2020 7:45PM PDT Last Updated Friday, March 20, 2020 8:31PM PDT
VANCOUVER -- Scammers are impersonating Starbucks and offering fake "social distancing" gift cards in an attempt to capitalize on the COVID-19 crisis, according to a new warning from the Better Business Bureau.
The fraudulent emails apologize for the Starbucks closures prompted by the coronavirus pandemic and offer virtual gift cards that people can supposedly claim by clicking a link and submitting personal information.
But there is no gift card, and Starbucks has confirmed no such promotion exists.
The links included in the emails are malicious and “could result in people compromising their devices, giving hackers and scammers access to personal and confidential information,” the Better Business Bureau said in a news release.
The bureau said having one’s personal information compromised is riskier than ever because more people are working from home and accessing their employers' networks on internet connections that might not be as secure as they are in the office.
During these unusual times, the BBB’s manager of public relations Karla Laird warned people it’s especially important to think twice before opening unsolicited emails with “strange links and attachments.”
Similar phishing emails have been reported that impersonate Walmart and Lowe's as well.
The Better Business Bureau said people who receive email offers that seem suspicious or illegitimate should contact the company directly by going to its official website.
On Friday, Starbucks announced that it would be closing public access to the majority of its cafes and begin serving customers by drive-thru and delivery only.
Locations in or around hospitals are being kept open to serve first responders, health-care workers and support staff, the company said.