As Christmas approaches, you can expect plenty of businesses to be turning to Facebook to get the word out about their festive promotions.
However, this is also the time of the year where cyber crooks will be turning to Facebook to promote their fake promotions and giveaways, aimed at enticing victims into their online traps.
Fake competitions and giveaway on Facebook can exist for a number of reasons. They can be used to lure Facebook users to follow a particular Facebook page (like-farming) or to direct visitors to a spammy marketing website. Others can be used to trick victims into handing over money and others can be used to attempt to commit identity theft.
I’ve seen a Facebook post claiming to be giving away Christmas prizes to those who like and share the post. Is it legit?
As Christmas draws near, we see plenty of Facebook posts offering festive themed prizes, for example a “free Christmas” or free trip to Lapland. The post claims you need to share and like the post. Many of these posts may also claim you need to click a link to claim your prize.
Firstly, Facebook posts that implore you share them onto your own timeline should be treated with extreme caution, because Facebook pages aren’t really supposed to do this since it violates Facebook’s terms of service. Providing your privacy settings are set to friends only, page admins can’t see if you shared a post or not.
Secondly before you interact with a Facebook post in any way, consider the source of the Facebook post. And by that we mean the Facebook page that published the post. Is it trustworthy?
Pages you can trust…
So, for example, the official page for a mobile phone manufacturer may post details of a promotion. You know it’s a legitimate promotion because the Facebook page has the blue tick to highlight that it’s the official page for the brand it represents. Alternatively, your local pizza outlet may not have that blue tick on its Facebook page, but you can check its history and contact information to determine it’s the real page.
Pages you shouldn’t trust…
However, Facebook pages that appear to represent a large brand but don’t have a blue verification tick aren’t something you should trust. Also, Facebook pages that don’t appear to be representing any business and have generic names (e.g. “Santa giveaway” or “Christmas daily gifts”) and lack any verifiable contact details should never be trusted either. If someone is giving away free prizes, they certainly won’t hide behind anonymous Facebook pages!
My friend shared a link claiming to offer free gift cards. Is it legit?
If one of your Facebook friends shared a link claiming to offer free gift cards, we could be believed into thinking it is the real deal. However, just because a friend shared it, it doesn’t mean it’s legitimate or that your friend actually received their free gift card.
These schemes often exist to entice visitors to spammy marketing webpages. So if you click one of these links and you’re taken to an unknown website that has nothing to do with the company who are apparently giving away free cards, and you’re first asked to share the webpage to your own timeline, then you’re looking at a scam.
Don’t fall for fake giveaways or competitions on Facebook. They exist for a reason, and it’s not to give you free prizes.