How to identify a scam Facebook promotion
Scams on Facebook pop up fairly frequently, and you’ll often see your friends sharing them! Offering high-value prizes in a Facebook ‘Like & Share’ giveaway is a fast way to gain page likes and comments. But the prizes aren’t genuine, they’re just a method of ‘like-farming’ – gaining thousands of fans to make a page valuable to scammers.
Here’s a short video to explain what like-farming is, and how you can spot a fake page.
What’s in it for the page?
It’s very difficult to encourage people to Like your Facebook page these days (Facebook terms state you’re not allowed to make a Like a requirement of entry for a giveaway!), so a page with lots of fans can be valuable to companies. They can sell the page, or use it to promote their own products or website. They may use it to send out spam advertising, or malware viruses – in the hope that people will click on them and give access to personal details, or sign up to expensive text services! This process is called ‘Like farming’, and an expensive prize is the easiest way to encourage people to like and share pages.
How to spot if a page/promotion is a scam
You may notice one or all of these features:
No information on the About section
If there’s no website listed, it’s a scam. Why encourage people to like your Facebook page if you have nothing to promote or sell?
The linked site isn’t genuine
There may actually be a linked site in the About section – but check it out carefully. Is it live or a holding page? Is it even related to the Facebook page content? In the case of Mama’s Kitchen, their sparse site looks like a shop – but there’s no information about the company apart from photos and a PayPal button at Checkout.
Are the prizes too good to be true?
If there are a huge number of desirable prizes – a hundred iPads, or five cars for example – it’s a scam. Genuine promoters don’t give away valuable prizes like these via like & share timeline promotions – they use a Facebook app or website entry form to capture data from the entrants.
Are there spelling mistakes on the page?
Spelling mistakes or a full stop in the page name or prize description are a clue to the fakes – and notice that iPhone and iPad always have a lower case i and upper case P in the names.
Is it a big brand name?
A blue tick next to a Facebook page name shows it’s an official page (note there is no official Apple page on Facebook and not all big companies have the tick to show they’re verified.) If you’re unsure, find the brand’s website and follow the ‘Facebook’ link from there to find their official page. Also check the URL (web address) of the page – if it’s full of numbers, it’s not genuine. Real pages should have the company name in the web address, eg. www.facebook.com/ThomsonHolidays
The promotion has no terms and conditions
All prize draws and competitions in the UK must have terms & conditions, and these must be easily accessible to all prospective entrants so we can read them before we decide whether to enter! If there’s no T&Cs or closing date, be suspicious.
The page has only been set up recently
Fake and scam pages don’t usually last more than a few months before Facebook takes them down. Scroll back on their timeline to see if there’s any worthwhile content on the page – if it’s 2 months old and all the posts are giveaways, it’s a fake!
What you should do
If you’re not sure a comp is genuine, DON’T enter it. Ask for advice on a comping forum or Facebook group, or check www.hoax-slayer.com to see if the scam appears there. Never give out your bank details, and make sure you have up to date anti-virus software on your computer.
And if your friends insist on entering these promotions despite your warnings, send them a link to this great Hoax-Slayer article ‘No Harm Done?’ Think Again! – 4 Reasons Why Participating In Bogus Facebook Giveaways Is NOT Harmless
You can report a page to Facebook by clicking the More menu (three dots) under the main profile photo, then Find Support or Report page.
In the pop-up choose Scams and Fake Pages and either Fake Page, or Pretending to be another business. If they’re imitating another brand, you can then type in the name of that page. Don’t expect the fake page to disappear straight away – there will need to be a lot of reports for Facebook to take notice!
Only a tiny percentage of online competitions and prize draws are a scam – don’t let them put you off comping! Read my Get Started guide and see my list of competition websites for the UK websites you can trust.
If you know of any current scam pages, please leave links in the comments – thanks!