Just Because It's Trending Doesn't Mean It's True
Hoax Alert

Fake News: Little Caesars NOT Giving Away 3 Large Pizzas to Everyone For 60th Anniversary

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Fri, 01 Mar 2019 09:52:03 Z)

Is pizza chain Little Caesars giving away free pizza to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the chain? No, that's not true: a scam website is luring visitors by promising free pizza in exchange for completing surveys but the whole thing is a scam designed to steal personal information. The setup is similar to earlier scams targeting different brands before.

This particular version of the scam was found on this website (archived here) that made following promise:

Congratulations!
You have been selected to take part in our short survey to get 3 Large Pizza at Little Caesars! We only have 953 Coupon remaining so hurry up!

Screenshot of http://littlecaesars.com-lt.com/

Little Caesars put out a notice via their official Facebook page warning users they have nothing to do with the site:

There is currently a fraudulent Little Caesars coupon in circulation, stating "Little Caesars is rewarding everyone with 3 free large pizza coupon on their 60th anniversary". This coupon was not generated or distributed by Little Caesars. We are monitoring the situation and diligently working to resolve this issue. We recommend that you do not click through to the coupon, as it may download a virus on your computer or device. Thank you.

The site is part of a larger network of scam websites that all operate in the same manner. First three questions are asked, typically asking if you are satisified with some brand, if you have used their product or if you would recommend it to others. Three possible answers are offered each time "Yes", "No" or "Don't remember".

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 prize:

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 prize will show up at your door in the end.

The scammers behind the site regularily launch new sites targeting different brands and businesses but they all look similar. An earlier version we spotted was aimed at Dunkin' Donuts.

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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