Like many great celebrities, Ellen DeGeneres is known for her generosity and gifts to her many fans. At the holidays, she tends to ramp up the effort and give high-dollar gifts to countless people. Unfortunately, the publicity surrounding these endearing episodes of her show has led to an Ellen Facebook scam.

Under the guise of The Ellen Show, fake accounts are offering sought-after prizes to social media users who jump through their hoops and fulfill their requirements. It might be commenting, sharing the post, liking it or clicking a link and filling out a form with a lot of personal information. In some cases, hoaxes of this kind have also led to financial loss when scammers move forward with their crimes. People in other scams like the Ellen Facebook scam have been asked for their personally identifiable information, complete identities and money. This holiday season—and all year long—do not be taken in by the Ellen Facebook scam, Lowe’s “tiny house” scams and other similar traps.

Remember, even commenting on a post like one to warn others that it is a scam can link your account to the scammer’s post. Instead, make your own post with a screenshot of the original if you want to get the word out and warn others. You can also report the post to Facebook or to the Group in which it was posted. Social media scams and hoaxes like the Ellen Facebook scam are a serious issue, and there is no sign that they are letting up soon. The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to know how to spot the indicators. Major companies have official accounts (sometimes with a checkmark) and they do not make silly grammatical errors.

Also, stop and think about what they are really offering. When is the last time you heard of Walmart giving away $100 coupons to everyone who likes a post, or Lowe’s building houses for people but only if they respond in the nick of time? Quite simply, they do not do that. However, that does not stop unsuspecting people from interacting with the scammer and spreading the post far and wide. Be a good digital citizen and remind the people you care about that scams and hoaxes are no joke, especially this time of year.

Contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at 888.400.5530. For on-the-go assistance, check out the free ID Theft Help App from ITRC.

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