The "Free iPad" Scam That Won't Quit

Another helpful article from

here's an easy way to spot most Internet scams.  If you see an offer, ask yourself whether it plays on greed and dishonesty.  By now, most of us can spot the most egregious scams, but the scammers are always working on their technique.

P. T. Barnum used to say "There's a sucker born every minute".  Nowhere is that more true, it seems, than where someone thinks they're going to gain free electronics.

There's a scam that's been going around since iPads hit the market.  It's been making the rounds on Facebook, and in 2013 it's still going around.

I was reading a friend's Facebook timeline, and someone (or their virus-infected computer) had posted a photo of an iPad with a yellow paper note above it.  The note had some photoshopped text.  The text said something like (paraphrasing):  "Hey guys this online store sent me an iPad and forgot to charge any money for it.  This is the second time."  Then the note gave a web address, where by trying to get a "free iPad", you could presumably (and blatantly) be just as much of a dirtbag as the person who wrote that note.

I really wanted to find out who would be so insultingly dishonest, so I did some research on the Internet.  I couldn't immediately find out who made the site.  So I decided to take a risk and, turning off some browser features, went to the website to see if I could glean any information there.

The site had a picture of an iPad and said "Because of the big hype around the iPad, several companies are giving away chances to get an iPad as soon as they are available."

Oh, really?  Because just a minute ago, you said there was some online store that accidentally gave you two free iPads.  I really wanted to see what kind of lowlife would rip off a merchant like that, but now you're telling me it's a legitimate offer? 

Like, no way!

Now here's where these dirtbags really offer the hook, line, and sinker.  They have a nice big, blue button, kind of like this one.

Don't worry, my button won't take you anywhere.  It's just to give you an idea of the sophistication these scammers have. 

I just made this button myself, from scratch.  It's very similar to what theirs looks like, except I have a hunch theirs will take you somewhere you don't like.  I'm thinking maybe a malicious php script.   

How about one that signs you up for an expensive cell phone add-on you didn't order?   Cool, right?  Actually, that's how the "Free iPad" scam usually works, but a malicious php script could do a lot of other things to your computer, too.    How about malicious iframes?  How about an injection attack? 

They'll probably sucker you into giving them personal information and a credit card number, at the very least.  I mean, how else can they verify that you're really the winner?

(Just a quick note:  if the scam ad gets posted to your Facebook account, there's a good chance the scammers have also installed a keylogger trojan to steal your Facebook password.  And probably the rest of your passwords too.)

One thing that makes the "free iPad" scam kind of dangerous is that they've toned down the "in-your-face" greed factor.  Telling someone they could get a free iPad by taking advantage of a store's mistake is going to attract some people, sure, but only the most greedy and dishonest ones.  So, the scammers realized that they could make it sound like a legitimate "free offer", where there are "companies" who are "giving away chances". 

When they put it that way, it almost sounds respectable, like having a raffle, doesn't it?

Sure, because that way they can scam more people. 

By the way, since I made my own button, I can also do other cool stuff with it. 


You know, like enlarge it, and maybe put different lettering on it.

(You clicked on that one, didn't you!)

Problem is, I haven't figured out a way to make this particular button work.  That would be a rather complex bit of scripting, but you get the idea.   

Listen, I know most of my readers are not going to need this next bit of advice, but just in case it will help someone, here goes:  If you want an iPad, why not save up and buy one the right way?  That way you'll get a warranty, it will be your iPad, and you won't get jammed up.   It's a win-win situation.

If this article helped you or at least gave you a smile, you can help me by buying your iPad (or anything else) through the links on this website.  It helps keep this website going.  You can buy the new 64GB iPad 4 here, the 32 GB version here, or you can shop for whatever kind you want through this banner link:


I hope you've enjoyed this article.  Thanks for reading!

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