Hatchimals Scams On Facebook, Twitter, And Instagram: Some Giveaway Contests And Coupons Are Phishing Tricks

Paula Mooney

Potential Hatchimals buyers might do best to try their hand at buying Hatchimals via the Spin Master website on Thursday -- or at their local Toys "R" Us store on Sunday, as reported by the Inquisitr. That's because some of the Hatchimals giveaways and contests claiming to offer a free Hatchimals toy are really scams designed to gain credit card or other information, reports Forbes.

The publication notes that certain Hatchimals giveaway contests, coupons, and gift card generators being passed around Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are actually scams. ZeroFOX explained that a recent Hatchimal giveaway scam on Instagram contained a shortened bit.ly link, which actually routed users to a Hatchimals.ml/giveaway website, with the "ML" representing a West African domain. Visiting the supposed Hatchimal giveaway link took users to a page that asked them to download a mobile app. That's where malware infestation can happen, according to the publication.

"One of the most popular toys over the 2016 holiday season are Hatchimals. ZeroFOX witnessed parents anxious to get a Hatchimal for their kid in any way possible, considering they are sold-out in most stores. This was one of many contest giveaways ZeroFOX discovered on Instagram. The bit.ly link in the post takes the user to a fake contest page using a domain extension of *.ml which is suspiciously a top level domain in West Africa. When the user picks the Hatchimal for the content entry, they're directed to a 'Human Verification' page where the user is asked to download a mobile app and provide contact information. The mobile app is also known for adware pop-ups leading to other malware infestations."

Although certain scammers are using the Hatchimals craze to try and trick consumers into taking nefarious online paths, it doesn't mean all of the Hatchimals giveaways found on social media sites like Facebook are Hatchimals scams. Indeed, plenty of the Hatchimals giveaways being promoted on Facebook use some of the same tactics that scammers use, which could include liking a certain social media page, leaving a comment and performing some other function to be entered into the Hatchimals giveaway. Therefore, a large level of caution should be exercised when entering any type of Hatchimals giveaway -- and those that attempt to gain personal bank data or anything that looks suspect should be avoided. Other scams include gift card generators and scams that claim coupons can be gained by performing specific actions, which should be avoided.

Social networking sites like Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are being used by scammers who try to take advantage of desperate parents trying to score Hatchimals for their children by Christmas. One Hatchimals giveaway contest on Facebook claimed that the account was giving away tons of "Hatchies" in time for Christmas -- only to those who like and share the Facebook page for their chance to win Hatchimals. The problem with liking and sharing any Hatchimals giveaway scams is that the scam proliferates all across social media, with the scammers increasing their chances of giving a small percent of the folks who see the scam the opportunity to become a victim of the Hatchimals scam.

Some of the Hatchimals giveaway contests include photos of people holding Hatchimals, or the Hatchimals toys themselves in the photo. Certain photos give the Hatchimals giveaways more credibility, especially if there are three Hatchimals in the photo, for example, and the contest claims to only be giving away three Hatchimals. Those photos, however, should be further researched when appropriate -- such as right-clicking on the image and searching Google for the image if possible, to try and ensure that the photo of Hatchimals hasn't been stolen from another legitimate website or social media user.

[Featured Image by Gunnar Rathbun/AP Images]