A Feb. 18 Facebook post cast a wide net: people who had shopped at Target in the previous four months. Everyone in that number was entitled to hundreds of dollars, the post claimed.
“Target is fined for defrauding customers,” the post said. “Victims get $500 store refunds. Answer 3 questions if you shopped at Target in the last 4 months.”
It followed a familiar pattern: big-box store + wrongdoing = a windfall for customers.
In January, for example, we looked at another post that claimed Walmart was giving some women a $500 grocery store credit as part of a discrimination settlement. Around the same time, posts started appearing promising women — who had supposedly been discriminated against by Lowe’s — cookware sets as a settlement.
Both companies told PolitiFact that these claims were baseless. A Target spokesperson we reached also told us this new post isn’t accurate, either. We found no news reports or other sources to contradict that.
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook.)
All of these posts, among others for different stores and companies, draw people in with the false promise of cash, credit, gift cards or gifts. But there are some simple ways to tell that they’re not credible.
First, these social media pages aren’t affiliated with the companies themselves, and often the Facebook pages publishing the posts are brand-new, created the same day the posts go up. You can see when a Facebook page was created by clicking on the “About” section and then clicking on “Page transparency.”
Second, the posts often lead people to uncredible websites to take a survey and fork over some personal information. In the post about the alleged Target refund, clicking “Apply Here” in the post leads to a website that uses Target’s logo but has an unaffiliated url: giftcardsgalore.site.
There’s no mention of the supposed fraud here — just an opportunity for “10 random users” to “receive a fantastic prize.” (A $500 Target gift card.)
But Target, Walmart and others caution customers to not buy, sell or check their gift card balances outside of Target’s website.
We rate claims that Target and other stores are refunding, crediting or gifting customers through these Facebook posts False.