The message is a variation on a theme that has been around for years - including on Facebook. Cadbury is supposedly celebrating its anniversary by giving away free chocolate. After forwarding the message, which is the mechanism for spreading the scam, you’re asked to do various things before you can claim your ‘free’ hamper.
Again, this should set alarm bells ringing because no legitimate offer would ask you to answer strange survey questions, complete unrelated offers with ‘partners’ and download app from a list.
In this particular case, as reported by The Sun, if you don’t read what you’re clicking on carefully, you can end up agreeing to send premium text messages which could cost you £200 per year. And as this is added to your phone bill, you might not notice a few £1.50 messages each month.
Answering survey questions is also a bad idea if you don’t know who is running it. Handing over personal information when entering competitions is always a risk, and used to result in huge amounts of junk mail arriving through your letterbox, but these days cybercriminals use it to steal your identity and your money.
Scams like this play on your fear of missing out by displaying how many of the free items are left in order to make you jump through those hoops more quickly and - hopefully - not read too carefully what you might be signing up for. Similarly, there will often be fake reviews which ‘confirm’ that the offer is genuine.
In most cases, all you need to do to check if an offer is genuine is to head to the company’s website or official social media accounts and see if the promotion exists there or not. Failing that, and if something is being offered by a company you don’t know, either do your research to try and ascertain whether it is legitimate or not, or simply don’t engage with it at all.
A spokesperson for Cadbury said to The Sun, "This is a scam and not associated with Cadbury. Promotions of this kind will always be announced on Cadbury’s official channels. We do not advise fans to take part in the survey, share personal data or share the message within their networks.”
Whether it’s free chocolate or the all-time favourite lure, the iPhone, you should think twice before forwarding messages to your friends on WhatsApp, Facebook and any other social media, as you could cost them big time too.