Facebook has been targeted by a surge of Facebook spam claiming to give away free products for those who join a Facebook Event.
Fake competitions claiming to give away free stuff on Facebook isn’t a new scam by any means, we’ve written about it in this blog post outlining how they work and how to spot them.
However despite their age and notoriety, this hasn’t stopped many such scams becoming successful, as this latest surge of scams has highlighted. Many brands have been targeted, including Disney, Taco Bell, Apple and Southwest Airlines.
How do these Facebook Event giveaway scams work?
The scams work by luring victims to Events set up by the scammers on Facebook that claim to be giving away free products. In order to qualify for the giveaway or competition, the victim is instructed to both join the Event and invite their friends to do the same – thus helping the scam spread from person to person.
Upon doing that the victim is then told to click a link leading to an external webpage that instructs the victim to complete a series of spammy surveys. Such surveys will request that the victim hands over a great deal of personal information about themselves which is then used to target them with spammy communication, often via SMS, post, telephone and email.
The problem is that there are no free products on offer as originally promised in the Facebook Event, but by the time the victim realises this, they have already parted with their information, as well as invited their friends to the Event.
How to avoid these scams
Whilst many brands do promote via competitions on Facebook, these are performed on the official Facebook Pages of the respective brand, not on newly-created Facebook Events. This means that competitions that run on Events like these should be dismissed as scams. Official Facebook Pages for popular brands can be spotted via the blue verification tick next to the Page title.
Whilst many legitimate competitions ask you to invite your friends, you should always be cautious of apparent competitions/giveaways that place a suspiciously high priority of getting your friends involved as well.
Finally, competitions that require you to complete spammy surveys and questionnaires should never be trusted as this is the hallmark of a giveaway scam, and are never worth venturing down. These survey schemes will spam you and share your information with a range of third party companies, who will also spam you as well.
Make sure your friends are aware of these types of scams as they spread virally across Facebook. Not only do you put yourself at risk by falling for them, you put your Facebook friends at risk as well.
Have you seen any of these scams on Facebook? Let us know below.