If it looks too good to be true, then it probably is (too good to be true). Please remember that when you see an invitation passed around, asking you to become a fan of a (fake) page on Facebook that claims you'll receive a high-dollar gift certificate from IKEA, Whole Foods, Best Buy or any number of other big name brands.
I first noticed this disturbing trend when the fake IKEA page popped up from the sewer. Red flags left and right. A thousand clams to first ten thousand people to become fans??? So IKEA is ponying up ten million to get its first ten thousand fans? Does that make economic/marketing sense? Hardly. Think people. Put on your common sense caps before pulling the social media 'gimmie' trigger. I think IKEA may have fallen prey first because they don't yet have a robust Fan Page on Facebook. I did a quick search and found one page claiming to be the 'official U.S. IKEA page', and it had about 70,000 fans. So I can see where some unfortunates might fall for this sleight of hand.
But the latest entries to this trend - and it always becomes a scam bandwagon - are Whole Foods and Best Buy imposters. Here's a blog post from AllFacebook about the fake Whole Foods giveaway Fan Page. And All Facebook's original source was a CNET article (Whole Foods working to curb Facebook-based scam). From CNET:
The scam has been spreading virally through Facebook via "fan pages" with names like "Whole Foods Market Free $500 Gift Card Limited - first 12,000 fans only" and "Whole Foods FREE $500 Gift Card! Only Available for 36 hours!" The fan page asks Facebook users to add it as a fan, thus pushing awareness of the page through those users' Facebook networks, and then asks them to fill out a credit assessment and other forms that request personal information. The scam then uses a form of malware to crash users' computers and the information they have entered is left vulnerable.
Whole Foods is recommending, rightly so, that users follow the Facebook Security fan page
and report suspected scams when they see them. I will be doing that as soon as I finish typing this post. The latest scam I spotted involves Best Buy. How do I know it's a scam? For one, the official Best Buy Fan Page (facebook.com/bestbuy) has some 1.1 milliion fans. Why would Best Buy start a different fan page, inviting the first "20,000 fans to receive a $1,000 gift card". First 20,000 fans of what, a new 'first 20,000 fans' fan page?? Makes absolutely zero sense, since Best Buy would run any giveaway from its official and massively popular fan page ... and therefore violates the one rule that rules them all: if it looks too good to be true -> on Facebook, please report it to the FBook Security Page, and DO NOT become a fan or share information with such sites.
Update (7pm ET)
In case you're not convinced the Best Buy (fake) Fan Page offer is trully fake ... this is from a spokesperson from Bestbuy, via Twitter (@Twelpforce)