With its "One for One" policy of donating shoes to someone in need for every pair bought, Toms is recognized as one of the most charitable shoe companies in the world, but that benevolent spirit is being capitalized on in a new Facebook scam.


Messages have been spreading around Facebook claiming Toms is giving away free shoes, but as the Better Business Bureau warns, these are bogus offers that direct users to click on a link that sets in motion a string of annoying and potentially malicious actions.


The scam-spotting website Hoax-Slayer found that clicking on the link in the initial lure message will take users to a survey page that requests their personal information, "ostensibly to allow them to go in the draw for a prize." As in all Facebook survey scams, there is no prize.


The trouble doesn't stop there. After requiring users to "like" or "share" the page, which spreads it to all their Facebook friends, the scam invites users to download "dubious toolbars, games or software," Hoax-Slayer wrote, and in some cases it tells people they must enter their cell phone number to win the prize, "thereby subscribing to absurdly expensive text messaging services."


This particular scam has some steam pushing it ahead: Toms has designated April 10 as "One Day Without Shoes," in which people are urged to forgo footwear to spread awareness on the impact shoes can make on the life of a child.


Toms got wind of the scam and, on its own Facebook page, wrote a message telling its fans that the free-shoe pages "are in no way associated with TOMS."


As with all suspicious Facebook offers, don't ever trust anything "free" or "exclusive," and if you're asked to fill out a survey or divulge any personal information, don't do it. Running up-to-date anti-virus software on your computer can help detect potential threats.


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