Beware the Viral Longhorn Steakhouse Free Dinner Facebook Scam

A new scam making the rounds on Facebook promises a free steak dinner from Longhorn Steakhouse to anyone who shares and comments on a post. However, the offers are completely fake and have nothing to do with the real restaurant chain. Scammers are creating the fraudulent Facebook pages and posts to spread malware and steal personal data from unsuspecting social media users.

This scam takes advantage of people’s desire to get a good deal and the tendency to trust well-known brands. But “liking,” sharing and commenting on these scam posts only helps them go viral, while victims receive nothing in return except increased risk of identity theft and malware.

It is important to be able to recognize this and other Facebook scams so you can avoid having your personal information compromised. This article will provide an in-depth look at how the Longhorn Steakhouse free dinner scam works, who is behind it, how to spot the fraudulent pages and posts, what to do if you shared one, and steps to take to better protect yourself in the future.

LONGHORN Facebook Scam

Overview of the Longhorn Steakhouse Free Dinner Facebook Scam

This scam claims to offer a free dinner for two at Longhorn Steakhouse, a popular steakhouse chain with over 500 locations in the United States. The fake promotions state that Longhorn Steakhouse CEO Todd Burrowes wants to thank social media users for their loyalty by providing a coupon for a free steak dinner if they like, share and comment on a post.

The scam posts often includeattention-grabbing phrases like “Free Dinner!”, “Steak Lovers Special” or “Facebook Exclusive Deal” and will typically include an unrelated picture of a delicious looking steak or other food. Some of the posts also ask users to tag friends they would like to go to dinner with.

However, these offers are completely fraudulent and are not authorized by Longhorn Steakhouse or its parent company, Darden Restaurants. The scammers have created imposter Facebook pages and profiles posing as the restaurant chain and its CEO in order to give their posts legitimacy. But their only goal is to spread malware and steal personal information, not provide free dinners.

Unfortunately, many people are tricked into interacting with these scam posts because free steak dinners from a popular restaurant chain sound appealing. The scammers exploit the good reputation of the Longhorn Steakhouse brand to manipulate social media users into spreading the scam further.

How the Longhorn Steakhouse Free Dinner Scam Works

The scammers behind this scam put a lot of thought into making the fraudulent pages and posts look authentic. This makes it easier to trick unsuspecting Facebook users. Here is an overview of how the scam typically works:

1. Creating Realistic Looking Facebook Pages and Profiles

The scammers will create Facebook pages and profiles impersonating the official Longhorn Steakhouse brand. The pages are designed to look legitimate with the company logo, images of food, and posts that mimic the language and tone of the restaurant’s marketing campaigns.

They also create fake profiles posing as Longhorn Steakhouse CEO Todd Burrowes. The profile pictures will show images of a businessman to further lend credibility to the scam posts.

2. Posting Scam Offer Promising Free Dinner

The scammers will then begin posting the scam free dinner offers on the fake Longhorn Steakhouse pages as well as on their own personal profiles. The posts are crafted to entice engagement through phrases about “thanking loyal customers” and giving away free dinners.

Many of the scam posts also encourage users to tag friends they’d like to have dinner with, which helps spread the fraudulent offers further.

3. Using Clickbait Tactics and False Claims

The body of the scam posts will use clever clickbait tactics and false claims to encourage shares, likes and comments. Some examples include:

  • Stating there is a limited supply of free dinners available to make the offer seem exclusive.
  • Use of FOMO (fear of missing out) with claims that users must act quickly before the promotion ends.
  • Asking users to share the post with their privacy set to “public” to validate their entry into the fake giveaway.
  • Falsely claiming that Todd Burrowes or the Longhorn Steakhouse marketing team will follow-up with instructions on how to claim your free dinner.

4. Upvoting and Spreading the Scam Posts

The scammers will use networks of fake accounts they control to upvote and share the fraudulent free dinner posts. This makes the posts appear more legitimate and tricks the Facebook algorithm into showing them to more users.

The scammers will also share the posts across Facebook groups, subreddits and other platforms to maximize the reach. Their goal is to get real users to interact and share the scam offer within their own networks.

5. Harvesting Personal Data

Once users like, share or comment on the scam Longhorn Steakhouse posts, the scammers immediately have access to portions of their personal profile data. Depending on your privacy settings, this could include your email address, phone number, hometown, date of birth and more.

In some cases, they will then direct message people who engaged with the scam posts to try and harvest additional info through phishing attempts. They may claim you need to complete a survey or provide details to claim your free dinner.

The scammers quickly sell or use the collected personal data for identity theft, distributing malware or targeted phishing scams. Even if you never complete any additional surveys or forms, just interacting with the initial scam post puts your personal info at risk.

Who is Behind the Longhorn Steakhouse Free Dinner Scam?

These types of Facebook scams that spread rapidly and harvest personal information are often orchestrated by organized cybercriminal groups mainly operating overseas in countries like Russia, China, and parts of Africa.

It is unlikely an individual scammer would have the resources and capabilities required to conduct large-scale Facebook fraud like this. Additionally, English is rarely the native language of the actual scammers.

According to social media security firm ZeroFOX, many Facebook scams originate in Nigeria, but use masked IP addresses and fake accounts to make it appear like they are coming from elsewhere. The remote operation combined with the use of fake accounts makes it very difficult for authorities to track down the actual individuals behind these scams.

The scammers are tech savvy, running complex networks of automated fake accounts that allow them to rapidly spread scam posts and then collect user data once someone interacts with their content. They have gotten the process down to a science, constantly fine tuning their methods to increase engagement rates.

Scams impersonating well-known brands like Longhorn Steakhouse are especially lucrative for these groups, as they know social media users are more likely to trust posts that appear to come from established companies.

While the scammers’ sole motivation is money, their distance from victims can lead them to underestimate the damage these scams cause in others’ lives.

How to Spot the Fake Longhorn Steakhouse Facebook Pages and Posts

While these scammers go to great lengths to make their pages and posts look real, there are a few key signs that can help you identify the Longhorn Steakhouse free dinner offers as fraudulent:

  • Generic Page Names – The page name may include the words “Longhorn Steakhouse” but will not be an exact match for the restaurant’s verified Facebook handle, @longhornsteakhouse.
  • Wrong Page URL – The URL/webpage address should be facebook.com/longhornsteakhouse. Fake pages will have slight variations.
  • No Verification Checkmark – Legitimate brand pages have a blue verification checkmark next to their name. This will be missing on the scam pages.
  • Suspicious Post Wording – Legitimate giveaways will provide official rules and clearly state no purchase is necessary to enter. Scam posts will not include official contest terms.
  • Odd Spelling/Grammar – Scam pages and posts often have small typos, capitalization errors or awkward phrasing. This is a red flag English may not be the scammer’s first language.
  • Posts Only About Giveaways – Real brand pages will post a variety of content, not just giveaway promotions. Scam pages often just repeatedly post contest offers.
  • Stock Photos – Scam pages tend to use generic stock images of food instead of real photos taken at Longhorn Steakhouse locations.
  • Push for Public Sharing – Posts that encourage you to share them publicly or with many friends to enter a contest are highly suspicious.
  • Message Button Missing – Legitimate brand pages will have a button to privately message the Page. This will not exist on scam pages.

Trust your instincts if an offer seems too good to be true. Look for multiple red flags, and if anything seems off about a page or post, it is best to assume it is fraudulent.

What to Do If You Have Interacted With the Longhorn Steakhouse Free Dinner Scam Posts

If you suspect you may have liked, commented on, or shared one of the scam free dinner posts, there are some important steps you should take right away:

  • Delete Your Comment – If you commented on one of the scam posts, delete it immediately.
  • Report the Page and Post – Notify Facebook by reporting the page and specific post as a scam so they can be removed.
  • Change Account Passwords – Change the password for your Facebook account and any other accounts that use similar passwords.
  • Enable Two-Factor Authentication – Add an extra layer of security to your Facebook account and other logins by requiring a code from your phone to access them.
  • Review Privacy Settings – Make sure your privacy settings on Facebook are locked down by limiting the audience for past and future posts to “friends only.”
  • Monitor Accounts Closely – Keep a close eye out for any suspicious login attempts, password reset emails, or friend requests over the next few weeks.
  • Watch For Spear Phishing – Be alert for any suspicious emails or messages claiming you need to verify details or claiming to be from Longhorn Steakhouse. Delete these outright without opening any links or attachments.
  • Run Anti-Virus Scans – Malware may have been installed on your device. Run full system scans using reputable antivirus software like MalwareBytes, Norton or Avast.
  • Place Fraud Alert – Consider placing a 90-day fraud alert with the major credit bureaus so you are notified of any suspicious credit activity.

If you notice any signs of fraud such as suspicious charges or someone trying to open accounts in your name, notify the affected companies immediately. You may also file an identity theft report with the FTC. Unfortunately, any personal data shared prior to recognizing the scam cannot be undone, but taking quick action can help prevent further misuse.

Avoid Falling Victim to Scams with These Facebook Safety Tips

While the Longhorn Steakhouse free dinner scam is prevalent right now, new Facebook frauds constantly arise offering fake freebies, gift cards and desirable prizes. Here are some tips to recognize and avoid scams moving forward:

  • Check for Verified Pages – Brands will have a blue checkmark next to their name on Facebook. Only trust offers that come directly from an official verified page.
  • Research Unverified Pages – Search online for the page name if it does not have a checkmark to see if others are discussing it as a scam.
  • Ignore “Limited Time” Offers – Posts telling you to act fast before a prize expires are pressuring you to bypass critical thinking. Take time to verify legitimacy instead.
  • No Purchase Should Be Required – Contests sponsored by real brands never require you to purchase something to enter or claim your prize.
  • Be Wary of Tagging Friends – Contests that encourage you to tag many friends should be seen as red flags. Avoid spreading suspicious offers.
  • Make All Posts Friends-Only – Update your default privacy setting to friends-only. Limit your posts’ audience to deny scammers info.
  • Use Two-Factor Authentication – Adding an extra login step will thwart many hacking attempts targeted at scam victims.
  • Never Download From Unknown Links – Don’t open links, downloads or attachments if you cannot verify the true source. They could install malware.

Staying vigilant against increasingly sophisticated Facebook fraud means being skeptical of any offers that look too good to be true. Rely on trusted brands, look for verification checkmarks, and report anything that appears suspicious rather than interacting. Making your personal info and accounts more secure provides additional protection against scams impacting you or your friends.

Is Your Device Infected? Check for Malware

If your device is running slowly or acting suspicious, it may be infected with malware. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free is a great option for scanning your device and detecting potential malware or viruses. The free version can efficiently check for and remove many common infections.  

Malwarebytes can run on Windows, Mac, and Android devices. Depending on which operating system is installed on the device you’re trying to run a Malwarebytes scan, please click on the tab below and follow the displayed steps.

Malwarebytes For WindowsMalwarebytes For MacMalwarebytes For Android

Scan your computer with Malwarebytes for Windows to remove malware

Malwarebytes is one of the most popular and most used anti-malware software for Windows, and for good reasons. It is able to destroy many types of malware that other software tends to miss, without costing you absolutely nothing. When it comes to cleaning up an infected device, Malwarebytes has always been free and we recommend it as an essential tool in the fight against malware.

  1. Download Malwarebytes for Windows.

    You can download Malwarebytes by clicking the link below.

    MALWAREBYTES FOR WINDOWS DOWNLOAD LINK
    (The above link will open a new page from where you can download Malwarebytes)
  2. Double-click on the Malwarebytes setup file.

    When Malwarebytes has finished downloading, double-click on the MBSetup file to install Malwarebytes on your computer. In most cases, downloaded files are saved to the Downloads folder.

    Download

    You may be presented with a User Account Control pop-up asking if you want to allow Malwarebytes to make changes to your device. If this happens, you should click “Yes” to continue with the Malwarebytes installation.

    Click Yes to install Malwarebytes

  3. Follow the on-screen prompts to install Malwarebytes.

    When the Malwarebytes installation begins, you will see the Malwarebytes setup wizard which will guide you through the installation process. The Malwarebytes installer will first ask you what type of computer are you installing this program on, click either Personal Computer or Work Computer.
    Malwarebytes setup: Click on Personal Computer

    On the next screen, click “Install” to install Malwarebytes on your computer.

    Click on Install to install Malwarebytes

    When your Malwarebytes installation completes, the program opens the Welcome to Malwarebytes screen.

  4. Click on “Scan”.

    Malwarebytes is now installed on your computer, to start a scan click on the “Scan” button. Malwarebytes will automatically update the antivirus database and start scanning your computer for malicious programs.

    Click on Scan button

  5. Wait for the Malwarebytes scan to complete.

    Malwarebytes will now scan your computer for browser hijackers and other malicious programs. This process can take a few minutes, so we suggest you do something else and periodically check on the status of the scan to see when it is finished.

    Malwarebytes scanning for malware

  6. Click on “Quarantine”.

    When the Malwarebytes scan is finished scanning it will show a screen that displays any malware, adware, or potentially unwanted programs that it has detected. To remove the adware and other malicious programs that Malwarebytes has found, click on the “Quarantine” button.

    Review the malicious programs and click on Quarantine to remove malware

  7. Restart computer.

    Malwarebytes will now remove all the malicious files and registry keys that it has found. To complete the malware removal process, Malwarebytes may ask you to restart your computer.
    Malwarebytes requesting to restart computer to complete the malware removal process

Your computer should now be free of trojans, adware, browser hijackers, and other malware.

If your current antivirus allowed this malicious program on your computer, you may want to consider purchasing Malwarebytes Premium to protect against these types of threats in the future.
If you are still having problems with your computer after completing these instructions, then please follow one of the steps:

Scan your computer with Malwarebytes for Mac to remove malware

Malwarebytes for Mac is an on-demand scanner that can destroy many types of malware that other software tends to miss without costing you absolutely anything. When it comes to cleaning up an infected device, Malwarebytes has always been free, and we recommend it as an essential tool in the fight against malware.

  1. Download Malwarebytes for Mac.

    You can download Malwarebytes for Mac by clicking the link below.

    MALWAREBYTES FOR MAC DOWNLOAD LINK
    (The above link will open a new page from where you can download Malwarebytes for Mac)
  2. Double-click on the Malwarebytes setup file.

    When Malwarebytes has finished downloading, double-click on the setup file to install Malwarebytes on your computer. In most cases, downloaded files are saved to the Downloads folder.

    Double-click on setup file to install Malwarebytes

  3. Follow the on-screen prompts to install Malwarebytes.

    When the Malwarebytes installation begins, you will see the Malwarebytes for Mac Installer which will guide you through the installation process. Click “Continue“, then keep following the prompts to continue with the installation process.

    Click Continue to install Malwarebytes for Mac

    Click again on Continue to install Malwarebytes for Mac for Mac

    Click Install to install Malwarebytes on Mac

    When your Malwarebytes installation completes, the program opens to the Welcome to Malwarebytes screen. Click the “Get started” button.

  4. Select “Personal Computer” or “Work Computer”.

    The Malwarebytes Welcome screen will first ask you what type of computer are you installing this program, click either Personal Computer or Work Computer.
    Select Personal Computer or Work Computer mac

  5. Click on “Scan”.

    To scan your computer with Malwarebytes, click on the “Scan” button. Malwarebytes for Mac will automatically update the antivirus database and start scanning your computer for malware.
    Click on Scan button to start a system scan Mac

  6. Wait for the Malwarebytes scan to complete.

    Malwarebytes will scan your computer for adware, browser hijackers, and other malicious programs. This process can take a few minutes, so we suggest you do something else and periodically check on the status of the scan to see when it is finished.
    Wait for Malwarebytes for Mac to scan for malware

  7. Click on “Quarantine”.

    When the scan has been completed, you will be presented with a screen showing the malware infections that Malwarebytes has detected. To remove the malware that Malwarebytes has found, click on the “Quarantine” button.
    Review the malicious programs and click on Quarantine to remove malware

  8. Restart computer.

    Malwarebytes will now remove all the malicious files that it has found. To complete the malware removal process, Malwarebytes may ask you to restart your computer.
    Malwarebytes For Mac requesting to restart computer

Your Mac should now be free of adware, browser hijackers, and other malware.

If your current antivirus allowed a malicious program on your computer, you might want to consider purchasing the full-featured version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware to protect against these types of threats in the future.
If you are still experiencing problems while trying to remove a malicious program from your computer, please ask for help in our Mac Malware Removal Help & Support forum.

Scan your phone with Malwarebytes for Android to remove malware

Malwarebytes for Android automatically detects and removes dangerous threats like malware and ransomware so you don’t have to worry about your most-used device being compromised. Aggressive detection of adware and potentially unwanted programs keeps your Android phone or tablet running smooth.

  1. Download Malwarebytes for Android.

    You can download Malwarebytes for Android by clicking the link below.

    MALWAREBYTES FOR ANDROID DOWNLOAD LINK
    (The above link will open a new page from where you can download Malwarebytes for Android)
  2. Install Malwarebytes for Android on your phone.

    In the Google Play Store, tap “Install” to install Malwarebytes for Android on your device.

    Tap Install to install Malwarebytes for Android

    When the installation process has finished, tap “Open” to begin using Malwarebytes for Android. You can also open Malwarebytes by tapping on its icon in your phone menu or home screen.
    Malwarebytes for Android - Open App

  3. Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the setup process

    When Malwarebytes will open, you will see the Malwarebytes Setup Wizard which will guide you through a series of permissions and other setup options.
    This is the first of two screens that explain the difference between the Premium and Free versions. Swipe this screen to continue.
    Malwarebytes Setup Screen 1
    Tap on “Got it” to proceed to the next step.
    Malwarebytes Setup Screen 2
    Malwarebytes for Android will now ask for a set of permissions that are required to scan your device and protect it from malware. Tap on “Give permission” to continue.
    Malwarebytes Setup Screen 3
    Tap on “Allow” to permit Malwarebytes to access the files on your phone.
    Malwarebytes Setup Screen 4

  4. Update database and run a scan with Malwarebytes for Android

    You will now be prompted to update the Malwarebytes database and run a full system scan.

    Malwarebytes fix issue

    Click on “Update database” to update the Malwarebytes for Android definitions to the latest version, then click on “Run full scan” to perform a system scan.

    Update database and run Malwarebytes scan on phone

  5. Wait for the Malwarebytes scan to complete.

    Malwarebytes will now start scanning your phone for adware and other malicious apps. This process can take a few minutes, so we suggest you do something else and periodically check on the status of the scan to see when it is finished.
    Malwarebytes scanning Android for Vmalware

  6. Click on “Remove Selected”.

    When the scan has been completed, you will be presented with a screen showing the malware infections that Malwarebytes for Android has detected. To remove the malicious apps that Malwarebytes has found, tap on the “Remove Selected” button.
    Remove malware from your phone

  7. Restart your phone.

    Malwarebytes for Android will now remove all the malicious apps that it has found. To complete the malware removal process, Malwarebytes may ask you to restart your device.


Your phone should now be free of adware, browser hijackers, and other malware.

If your current antivirus allowed a malicious app on your phone, you may want to consider purchasing the full-featured version of Malwarebytes to protect against these types of threats in the future.
If you are still having problems with your phone after completing these instructions, then please follow one of the steps:

Frequently Asked Questions about the Fake Longhorn Steakhouse Free Dinner Scam

Q: What is the Longhorn Steakhouse free dinner scam?

A: This is a fraudulent scam being spread on Facebook that claims Longhorn Steakhouse is giving away free dinners to anyone who likes, shares, or comments on a post. The offers are completely fake and are not authorized by Longhorn.

Q: How can I tell if a Longhorn Steakhouse offer on Facebook is fake?

A: Look for missing verification checkmarks, posts that encourage public sharing, requests to tag friends, and other red flags covered in this article. Legitimate offers will come directly from Longhorn’s verified Facebook page.

Q: I shared one of the scam posts, what should I do now?

A: Delete your comment, report the fraudulent page and post to Facebook, change your Facebook password, enable two-factor authentication, and monitor your accounts closely for any suspicious activity.

Q: Who is behind the fake Longhorn Steakhouse Facebook pages?

A: Cybercriminal groups and scammers, mainly overseas, create these types of scams to spread malware and steal personal information from victims. It is unlikely to be a single individual.

Q: What does commenting on the scam post allow the scammers to access?

A: Depending on your privacy settings, liking, sharing or commenting can potentially expose your email address, birthdate, location and other personal info to the scammers.

Q: I noticed a charge on my credit card I don’t recognize after interacting with one of the scam posts, what should I do?

A: Immediately notify your credit card company and credit bureaus of possible identity theft. Monitor your financial accounts closely for any other suspicious charges or activity.

Q: How can I spot other Facebook scams in the future?

A: Be wary of offers that seem too good to be true, always check for verified pages, look for odd grammar/spelling, and never tag friends or publicly share questionable posts.

Q: What are some general tips to improve my privacy and security on Facebook?

A: Enable two-factor authentication, be selective about what personal details you share publicly, and set your default post audience to “friends only”. This will help prevent your info falling into the wrong hands.

Conclusion

The fraudulent Facebook pages and posts promising free steak dinners from Longhorn Steakhouse may look convincing, but no such authorized offer exists. Sharing and commenting on these scam posts only spreads them further while granting scammers access to your personal data. Instead of getting a free dinner, victims of the scam are left with an increased risk of identity theft and account hacking.

Avoid interacting with any suspicious offers by looking for red flags like missing verification checkmarks, posts that encourage public sharing, and requests to tag many friends. You should also adopt safer habits like using two-factor authentication and limiting your default post audience settings on Facebook. Being cautious about sharing personal information and suspicious content is the best way to protect yourself from increasingly common social media scams.

How to Stay Safe Online

Here are 10 basic security tips to help you avoid malware and protect your device:

  1. Use a good antivirus and keep it up-to-date.

    Shield Guide

    It's essential to use a good quality antivirus and keep it up-to-date to stay ahead of the latest cyber threats. We are huge fans of Malwarebytes Premium and use it on all of our devices, including Windows and Mac computers as well as our mobile devices. Malwarebytes sits beside your traditional antivirus, filling in any gaps in its defenses, and providing extra protection against sneakier security threats.

  2. Keep software and operating systems up-to-date.

    updates-guide

    Keep your operating system and apps up to date. Whenever an update is released for your device, download and install it right away. These updates often include security fixes, vulnerability patches, and other necessary maintenance.

  3. Be careful when installing programs and apps.

    install guide

    Pay close attention to installation screens and license agreements when installing software. Custom or advanced installation options will often disclose any third-party software that is also being installed. Take great care in every stage of the process and make sure you know what it is you're agreeing to before you click "Next."

  4. Install an ad blocker.

    Ad Blocker

    Use a browser-based content blocker, like AdGuard. Content blockers help stop malicious ads, Trojans, phishing, and other undesirable content that an antivirus product alone may not stop.

  5. Be careful what you download.

    Trojan Horse

    A top goal of cybercriminals is to trick you into downloading malware—programs or apps that carry malware or try to steal information. This malware can be disguised as an app: anything from a popular game to something that checks traffic or the weather.

  6. Be alert for people trying to trick you.

    warning sign

    Whether it's your email, phone, messenger, or other applications, always be alert and on guard for someone trying to trick you into clicking on links or replying to messages. Remember that it's easy to spoof phone numbers, so a familiar name or number doesn't make messages more trustworthy.

  7. Back up your data.

    backup sign

    Back up your data frequently and check that your backup data can be restored. You can do this manually on an external HDD/USB stick, or automatically using backup software. This is also the best way to counter ransomware. Never connect the backup drive to a computer if you suspect that the computer is infected with malware.

  8. Choose strong passwords.

    lock sign

    Use strong and unique passwords for each of your accounts. Avoid using personal information or easily guessable words in your passwords. Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) on your accounts whenever possible.

  9. Be careful where you click.

    cursor sign

    Be cautious when clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown sources. These could potentially contain malware or phishing scams.

  10. Don't use pirated software.

    Shady Guide

    Avoid using Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file-sharing programs, keygens, cracks, and other pirated software that can often compromise your data, privacy, or both.

To avoid potential dangers on the internet, it's important to follow these 10 basic safety rules. By doing so, you can protect yourself from many of the unpleasant surprises that can arise when using the web.

Leave a Comment