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Hoax Alert

Fake News: Dunkin' Donuts NOT Giving One FREE Box of 12 Donuts For Celebrating 70th Anniversary

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Fri, 22 Feb 2019 13:37:38 Z)

Is Dunkin' Donuts giving away boxes of 12 donuts for free for their 70th anniversary? No, that's not true: scammers set up a fake survey site to redirect people to various dodgy sites with the promise of free donuts.

An example of the scam can be found on this website (archived here), where a poll asks you three questions:

Congratulations!
You have been selected to take part in our short survey to get a Free box of Doughnuts from Dunkin' Donuts! We only have 232 boxes remaining so hurry up!

1/3: Have you ever visited at Dunkin' Donuts?

2/3: Have you ever visited at Dunkin' Donuts with a Friend or a Family member?

3/3: Are you satisfied by the services of Dunkin' Donuts?

Screenshot of http://dunkindonuts.com-giftsinfeb.com/?BRFwfqv

No matter what answers are given, visitors are redirected to a screen that looks like this, inviting them to share and like the page on Facebook to claim the free donuts:

dunkinfake.jpg

The comment form at the bottom is also fake: comments are automatically appearing but they do not come from real people, the whole thing is scripted: if the page is reloaded the same comments start appearing again. Clicking the share button does bring up a real share popup from Facebook but it does not share the exact URL of the page: it varies the random-looking string of letters and numbers at the end so that to Facebook it will look like a new and different article that is being shared. This makes it harder to detect and do something about it because each individual link needs to be individually reported and taken down.

Clicking the like button takes people through a series of redirects via various pages, probably depending on which ads or scams the people behind the site need to promote at the time. But no donuts will show up at your door in the end. Apparently the scam has been going on since at least 2018:

Dunkin' Donuts says coupons for free 'anniversary' doughnuts are scams

CANTON, Mass. - Dunkin' Donuts says a story and clickable coupon being shared widely online that offers free boxes of doughnuts to celebrate its anniversary are false. Michelle King, a spokeswoman for the Canton, Massachusetts-based Dunkin' Brands Group Inc., said in an email that the online offer is not affiliated with Dunkin' Donuts.

Dunkin' Donuts was founded in 1950 by the way, which would make it 69 years old, not 70, and it is in the process of rebranding itself as Dunkin' so the scam is using an old brand name:

Dunkin'

Founded in 1950, Dunkin' is America's favorite all-day, everyday stop for coffee and baked goods. Dunkin' is a market leader in the hot regular/decaf/flavored coffee, iced coffee, donut, bagel and muffin categories.

About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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Lead Stories uses the Trendolizer™ engine to detect the most trending stories from known fake news, satire and prank websites and tries to debunk them as fast as possible. Read more about how we work and how we select stories to check here.

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