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Food fraud alert! A lot of people fell for this $100 Chipotle gift card scam

If it sounds too good to be true...
by Alessandra Bulow / / Source: TODAY

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National Avocado Day was supposed to be a happy day — a day filled with avocado toast and mounds of guacamole. Thing were off to a good start on Tuesday morning when Chipotle started offering free guacamole with meals.

But the good times didn't last all day.

People got really angry when they couldn't redeem the free guac because the chain's app and site stopped working.

As if that wasn't enough, it turns out that a lot of people fell for a "free" $100 Chipotle gift card offer that turned out to be a scam.

"It's a scam that the company is aware of and working to address," Chipotle told the Associated Press on Tuesday. The company did not respond to TODAY Food's inquiry for more information.

The digital scam offered people a "free" $100 Chipotle gift card in return for sharing a link to the offer with four people. The website that was set up for the fake offer included the text "National Avocado Day Get a $100 Chipotle Card" along with the Chipotle logo and an image of a burrito bowl. The now defunct page also included a countdown clock of how many gift cards were left for the taking and a fake Facebook page included comments from users who were not real.

Chipotle $100 gift card scam
The fake Chipotle $100 gift card offer.Twitter

Convinced that the offer was legit, many people shared the link to the offer. Eventually people were asked for personal information and some even admitted to handing it over.

The exact number of people who may have been affected is not known at this time but dozens of people have taken to social media to express their frustration with the fake offer.

Chipotle $100 gift card scam
This coupon on Twitter offered people a free $100 Chipotle gift card but was a scam.Twitter

Many were really sad and other were just really angry.

The next time a too-good-to-be-true offer for free stuff pops up on your screen, there are a bunch of ways to figure out if it's real or not, according to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

Spotting an impostor can be tricky, but checking out the format of a web address is a good first step to see if it matches up with the real thing. For example, Chipotle's official website is "https://www.chipotle.com/" but the website of this scam was "https://chipotle.guacamole.cards/" before it was removed.

Another good way to spot a fake is to simply Google the item in question with words like "review," "complaint" or "scam" and see if any reports come up. Above all else, never share personal information like a credit card number or bank account number on a random website.

Want more info? Check out more of the FTC's smart tips to avoid fraud or sign up for free scam alerts.

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