Woman says Facebook friend stole her prize

Barb Sweet
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Don’t share your java joy before making claim

With a friend like that, Margaret Coward sure didn’t need an enemy — the Conception Bay South woman cheerily posted a photo of her prize-winning Tim Hortons’ cup on Facebook and got ripped off.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Coward told The Telegram of losing out on a $100 Tim Card because someone among her 900-plus friends’ list copied the Roll Up the Rim prize-winning personal identification number (PIN) visible in her Facebook photo post and claimed the prize online before Coward could.

Coward was excited about the prize and besides telling some family and friends, she posted the cup photo on Facebook, not realizing Tim Card prizes could be claimed online and all someone else needed was the PIN printed on the exposed lip to register online for the prize.


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It all happened in the span of a half hour, said Coward.

The last time the self-described “Timmie’s girl” coffee fanatic won a bigger than free-coffee prize — a $50 gift card — was two years ago and she’d filled out a form in a store.

This time around, Coward said when she rolled up the winning rim, she called the store about the form and was told it was easier to redeem online.

They went online and entered in my PIN code and attached it to their email and claimed my $100 Tim card. Needless to say I was upset. I feel stupid for posting the pic. However, I didn’t know, along with alot of my other friends, that you can redeem online. I want others to be made aware of the rules. Margaret Coward

But when she signed on the Tim Hortons’ site, she couldn’t get her PIN to work and called the toll-free number. She said a customer service rep tried to help her register the PIN and her email address, but it kept coming back as invalid.

When, during the conversation, Coward said she’d posted a photo on Facebook, the rep said she couldn’t be helped, that the prize was redeemed.

In a subsequent call, Coward said Tim Hortons told her it couldn’t give out the email address of the person who claimed the prize because of privacy reasons.

She noticed her total Facebook friends’ count was down by one after the incident, but has no idea who stole the prize.

Coward also pointed out she has privacy settings set up so her post was not public, just among her approved friends and no one among them had shared it.

Coward said she wants to tell her story to warn anyone else who wins a prize what could happen if they are not careful.

“It’s not about getting the $100 card,” Coward said.

“If I had known this, I would not have posted it.

“They went online and entered in my PIN code and attached it to their email and claimed my $100 Tim card. Needless to say I was upset. I feel stupid for posting the pic. However, I didn’t know, along with alot of my other friends, that you can redeem online. I want others to be made aware of the rules.”

Tim Hortons spokeswoman Hailey DeDominicis said in an email response the restaurant chain introduced the PIN code feature to allow winners the chance to collect their $100 Tim Card prize online, as an alternative to mailing in the winning tab.

“As these are unique PIN codes, we do not encourage our guests to post images of their tabs on social media until they have redeemed their prize,” DeDominicis said.



Organizations: Tim Hortons

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Recent comments

  • Vienna sausages
    February 26, 2016 - 09:52

    I get that whoever her Facebook friend was that stole it, she/he did the wrong thing. But it was coward's fault for posting her tims cup online. Honestly, What was she thinking? I mean that was stupid in the first place. Not calling her stupid, but calling her actions stupid.

  • Peeved
    February 23, 2016 - 16:23

    There is no such word as alot! Learn how to spell if you are selling stories in print. Please!

  • Lucy
    February 23, 2016 - 15:15

    After reading the comments, I have come to one conclusion. People who don't have facebook are a bitter f*ckin' bunch.

    • Purity syrup
      February 26, 2016 - 09:56

      Well if your going to use launage like that your part of that bunch...

  • breakforcoffee2
    February 23, 2016 - 14:45

    Another reason why I have no clue what Facebook is, nor do I want to know. This is so stupid on so many levels it is pathetic.

  • Randy
    February 23, 2016 - 14:23

    HAHA!!looks good on her, the fool!!Why do people think it's "fashionable", or whatever new word they use, to display their lives, I mean EVERY moment of their day, to the public?? Do people really think others are that interested in their silly lives!!!!!???Oh my, George Orwell, if u could see society now!!!!

  • Oh my
    February 23, 2016 - 11:55

    This is so stupid. People need to be smarter.

  • Mike
    February 23, 2016 - 11:33

    I was surprised when I read your story that this was an older lady! I Figured someone in there 60's would have known better; but with 900 friends I think she does a lot of things just to get attention and be relevant to her 900 hundred strangers she has on her Facebook. Ps, don't post the next time you're going on vacation and your house is empty, or post a picture of your credit card, all bad Facebook posts.

  • Steve Barnes
    February 23, 2016 - 10:34

    Pay attention to ME! I have a vacation in 300 days from now - time to start a daily countdown! I just got engaged, time to show off a picture of my diamond ring. Time to check in at the YYT as I am flying to YYZ then LHR. Bought a car, post a photo. Post a photo of meal. Great.... Someone I know is posting more elaborate photos than me and appears to lead a more lavish lifestyle. Time to spend beyond my means so I can be my high school classmate who I have not spoken to in 30 years but desperately want to make jealous. Haha! He liked my status.... He's soooooo jealous of me. I can tell.

  • Yes by
    February 23, 2016 - 09:58

    No one has 900 friends. You may have a list of 900 people on your facebook page but I'm willing to bet you don't know 95% of them well enough to call them friends. So a friend didn't do this. It was an acquaintance. Probably someone who would steel the eyes out of your head and come back for the sockets.

  • NL Hunter
    February 23, 2016 - 09:36

    Ok, so who is it that should make a complaint of "Fraud" to the police - Tim Horton's or Mrs Coward? Obviously someone has made a fraudulent claim to collect a prize. And thus it should be investigated so charges can be laid.

  • stephanie
    February 23, 2016 - 09:28

    Another reason not to join ridiculous social media sites like Facebook. It seems to attract a lot of twits, thats for sure.

  • Louisa Tobin
    February 23, 2016 - 09:07

    Since Margaret Coward has the actual winning cup there should not be a questions about who owns it

  • Jennifer
    February 23, 2016 - 08:58

    I feel for the woman. I didn't know there was a unique PIN needed to claim a prize. I was excited a few years back winning a bike and I posted it to Facebook. No harm, no foul. At the time I needed to present the winning tab at the store and fill out a form. The bike was then delivered to that store and with proper ID I claimed it. No PIN was necessary. I think Tim Horton's should be able to release the email and address to the police in a case like this. The woman has the winning cup in her possession so that should be enough to prove true ownership, but if that isn't possible then just take this as a lesson harshly learned and a warning to the rest of us to be careful in our moments of excitement. I am sorry that this happened to her. It could very easily have been me!

  • John
    February 23, 2016 - 08:46

    Another example of people being too hung up on the word "friend" on Facebook, unless those people are people you actually know, speak to in real life, and can trust, they aren't your friends. Feel bad for the lady, but hopefully she'll realize that broadcasting everything for a few likes is a bad idea. Live and learn.

  • Dee
    February 23, 2016 - 08:41

    That's why you don't put things like this and I'm so excited to be going on vacation setting yourself up to be targeted.Besides who has 900 friends.

    • Debbie
      February 23, 2016 - 10:08

      The most telling thing is that among her 900 "friends" she couldn't even tell who dropped her. If someone unfriended me, I could go through my list and know who it was.

  • Joe
    February 23, 2016 - 08:35

    You deserved what you got. Really, who wants to know that you won a Tim's card valued at $100. Facebook has become a mad house. Some people even say" I'm tired, going to bed now. Good nite" WOW. Important information.

  • steve
    February 23, 2016 - 08:25

    This story hit me so hard I threw up my Starbucks.Theres the real crime ,losing good coffee because of bad coffeee

  • Bluto Blutarsky
    February 23, 2016 - 08:09

    Some people learn the hard way that not everything needs to be immediately posted on Facebook. She didn't get "ripped off", she gave it away.

  • cindy wellman
    February 23, 2016 - 08:09

    There are all kinds of individuals in life "Good & Bad".... I agree that it wouldn't be about the $100 Tim's Card BUT the principle of the matter! If the "Pin Code" is a "Unique Number"... Tim's should be able to verify who sent in the code and claimed the prize... Pretty low how someone will stoop in life!

  • Anna
    February 23, 2016 - 07:46

    I couldn't finish reading this story as I couldn't believe it made the front page. This is an adult who would embarrass herself by telling everyone she has 900 friends on Facebook and one of them stole her $100.00. Dear God, we have a council gone mad, our federal government is going to put up in debt for the rest of our lives, our Provincial Government has gone into hiding and The Telegram is reporting about a theft of $100.00. Well done.

    • Don II
      February 23, 2016 - 08:59

      Anna you tell it like it is. The media in Newfoundland and Labrador are either part of the Government propaganda machine or they are asleep at the wheel. You are right on about the councils gone mad and the Liberal Government going into hiding and there are more negative things going on that the media does not or will not report on. When the PC's ran the Province, the media refused to expose the corruption and incompetence until the PC's nearly bankrupted the Province! Lazy journalism is so prevalent in Newfoundland and Labrador that it amazes me that the "reporters" have the energy to reprint the news wire stories and Government of Newfoundland news releases which form the basis of most of the front page news that we hear or read these days! I will be surprised if this comment is published...we cannot criticize the media......now can we?

  • Rob
    February 23, 2016 - 07:40

    Another pitiful example of silly people putting silly pictures of their insignificant daily events out there on the internet for all to see and some to take advantage of. Very few people seem to care for anonymity and privacy anymore and feel the need to expose there lives to the world via Facebook and other internet sharing sites. I don't subscribe to any of these but if I did, and I don't think I am unpopular, there is no way I could name anywhere close to 900 "friends"! The definition of the word has obviously changed!

  • Datlene
    February 23, 2016 - 07:32

    Really...I'm sure I heard TIMS said...you need to bring in the whole cup for prizes...so now you can just photocopy someone else's ...and they should make public the THIEF...simple isn't it ....cheers

  • rjhrrs
    February 23, 2016 - 07:32

    come on......this made the headline? The heart wrenching story of online stupidity and the lady who cried friend. I applaud the reporting....slow clap!

  • The real Calvin
    February 23, 2016 - 07:06

    While this is awful, it is a prime example of the ridiculousness of Facebook. 900+ friends, 17 of whom she has any contact with at all.

  • justin case
    February 23, 2016 - 06:53

    Marg...that will teach you to post anything on Face "look at me" Book. Your X-friend is relaxing at home reading your article with a large Tim's in their hand, smiling of course. Too funny.....

  • Mary
    February 23, 2016 - 06:44

    As my mother used to say ( some people would steal the coppers off a dead mans eyes).It's good that it was a hundred dollars,and not a million. So much for sharing your good luck,with friends.

  • Fred
    February 23, 2016 - 06:37

    I suppose your friendship was worth less than $100.

  • RC
    February 23, 2016 - 06:21

    it goes to show that Face Book Friends does not really mean "Friends'...who has 900 plus real friends? no one. if you count on 900 people to have your back you need to reassess your life.

  • robyn
    February 23, 2016 - 06:13

    this at least gives warning to others. Plus out of the 900 people how many were actually "friends"? The person may not have actually unremoved themselves but could have been someone else for an unrelated reason. I dont even have half as many friends on my fb and wouldnt know if someone unfriended me

  • Political Watcher
    February 23, 2016 - 05:57

    Firstly, no one I know has 900 "Friends" per se. People clicking a button on Facebook are not necessarily your friends therefore should not be subject to everything happening in your life. This is not Tim Hotons fault, the online redemption is an improvement over the traditional mailing in. Like many other things in your life, you really don't have to inform the world. We warn our children all the time about what they post online and this is no different. While I feel sorry for the lady, and I would go to great lengths to identify the thief, it is another lesson learned as to the down-side of social networks.

  • Denise
    February 23, 2016 - 05:56

    They joys of social media and today's society.....sad really someone would stoop so low...