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There's A Starbucks Scam Going Around By Lady Gaga Fans

Russian trolls have nothing on Gaga's Little Monsters.

Posted on March 2, 2019, at 6:13 p.m. ET

Frederic J. Brown / AFP / Getty Images

It's been almost a week since Lady Gaga took home an Oscar for the song "Shallow" from A Star Is Born, but her fans aren't done yet.

As the movie's album climbs the charts and threatens to topple Ariana Grande's Thank U, Next, Gaga fans have been spreading a fake Starbucks image online in a bid to lift "Shallow" from 21st place on the Billboard Hot 100.

The "Shallowbucks" scam suggests the coffee company will give customers a free beverage voucher if they send a screenshot of themselves listening to the song.

I'm listening to #shallow by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper! @Starbucks Starbucks is celebrating Lady Gagaโ€™s Oscar win with a promotion for a free drink of choice simply post a screenshot of yourself listening to โ€œShallowโ€ with the hashtag, #SHALLOWBUCKS for a free drink of choice

OMG YALL THIS IS REAL YOU GOTTA TRY IT #SHALLOWBUCKS

To further spread the scam, some Gaga fan accounts even spread fake images of direct messages purportedly sent from Starbucks to users with a voucher.

Just got my free drink! Thanks Starbucks! #SHALLOWBUCKS

Of course, #Shallowbucks is not real and Starbucks is not honoring the fake promotion, as the company's official Twitter account made clear on Friday.

Twitter/@Starbucks / Via Twitter: @Starbucks

Starbucks' customer service account has also been rather busy debunking the false promotion.

There are numerous tweets from @starbuckshelp telling customers the company is investigating to see who created the fake giveaway.

Twitter/@StarbucksHelp / Via Twitter: @starbuckshelp

The scam appears to have started on Thursday by an 18-year-old college freshman Gaga fan named Nico who told BuzzFeed News he is a Las Vegas artist trying to pursue a career in graphic design.

"Yes omg I started it," he in a Twitter direct message, "but if Starbucks asks I know NOTHING!"

Twitter/@fkanico / Via Twitter: @fkanico

"Well since rumors of 'Shallow' possibly going number one on Billboard started I knew I had to do something to help her out with sales and streams but I didnโ€™t know just what to do at first," he said. "Then one day when I was going home from school I passed by a Starbucks and got the idea last minute lol."

Nico also provided screenshots to BuzzFeed News as evidence suggesting he had made the fake Starbucks image.

Twitter/@fkanico / Via Twitter: @fkanico

Nico said that he noticed the scam take off within the first hour of his tweet.

"Within the first hour there were 2000 to 3000 tweets with the hashtag #SHALLOWBUCKS," he said. "Thatโ€™s when I realized a ton of people actually fell for it."

"I actually wish I came up with the idea sooner so Gaga would get more streams since I posted it only like 2 or 3 hours before the tracking week for streams ended?"

I got #SHALLOWBUCKS trending ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ

As the scam spread, some Gaga fans who were in on the joke, including Nico himself, began sharing memes making fun of the mess.

white girls walking into Starbucks and realizing their shallowbucks voucher is fake

The Starbucks CEO when they wake up tomorrow morning and see #ShallowBucks trending

straights entering the starbuck after streaming shallow #shallowbucks

On Saturday, Nico said on Twitter that he believed that Starbucks was "on to" him and blamed people who were tagging him in tweets with the coffee company.

But he told BuzzFeed News the company hadn't reached out to him.

"When I tweeted it I was honestly really worried since I don't know if I could get into any legal trouble but I thought since nobody is losing any money doing it, it should be ok," he said. "I don't think really care enough to look into it honestly."

He also began joking that he was going to go to prison.

.@ladygaga can I have a free meet and greet before I go off to prison

Asked if he felt bad about deceiving people or if he was worried that Starbucks would be angry about the false promotion, he said, "Yes I do feel bad, but at the same time if Gaga does get number 1 it'll all be worth it lol."

Additional reporting by Bobby Caruso.

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