We’ve got 300 lightly scratched PlayStations to give away. We just need you to like our Facebook page.
Ridiculous right? Yet, every single day people I know on Facebook like and share fake Facebook competitions. After a brief facepalm and muttering that they should know better I move on, but a little part of me dies inside. It always seems like such common sense, but as that’s never all that common, here’s how to spot fake Facebook competitions by fake Facebook pages.
What are Fake Facebook Competitions?
When people trust big brands, it’s fairly common that they’ll give them a like on Facebook. This signs them up for the latest news from the brands they love. This is also why there are so many fake Facebook pages. These pages are ‘like farming’ by offering what appears to be amazing prizes for minimal effort. These fake pages grow quickly because of the ‘like and share’ mechanism and once they’re big enough, they’re flipped to promote other products or services. All the fraudsters want is access to your eyeballs and when you like a fake Facebook page or enter a fake Facebook competition, at the very least you’re feeding the scammers.
All the fraudsters want is access to your eyeballs and when you like a fake Facebook page or enter a fake Facebook competition, at the very least you’re feeding the scammers. I’ll admit that it’s easy to get caught out and some of the pages are very convincing, but here are a few telltale traits of fake Facebook pages:
- No blue verified tick
- There’s something fishy about the title
- You land on a weird website after you click
- It all seems too good to be true
Let’s dive in and add a little more info to this.
1. No blue verified tick
While nothing in this list is iron-clad (use some common sense too), the verified tick is one of the best ways to spot a genuine page. Here’s what they look like:
Facebook is pretty tough on who they hand these seals of approval out to. This means it’s a great sign that a page is genuine, but also genuine pages may struggle to get it, so let’s go deeper.
2. There’s Something Fishy About the Title
While being verified is a great way to spot genuine accounts, fake Facebook pages also have some clear traits to help you spot them. One of the most obvious ways is using a well-known, loved and trusted brand name and simply adding a full stop to the end. Here’s an example of how scammers created a page to farm likes by using Disney Cruises:
People just go mad for stuff like this. Not only did thousands share it, they liked it, liked the page, clicked the link and handed over their email addresses. If only they knew how far away from that cruise they were. Actually, while we’re on the topic of clicking links and landing on web pages…
3. You Land on a Weird Website After You Click
I’m already a little disappointed you clicked the link, but you can still redeem yourself. That fake cruise post is a great example of a third telltale sign you’re being duped. Think about this logically. Disney is a huge company that can afford to design nice websites. If you do get duped into clicking that post, you really have no excuses when you see the state of the web page you land on. It probably looks terrible on mobile, has misspellings here and there and just generally looks ugly.
You should be hearing alarm bells, but if you’re not, the biggest giveaway has yet to be mentioned.
4. It All Seems Too Good to be True
It’s a complete cliché but if it seems too good to be true, well it probably is. Use some common sense and if you have any doubts at all, just close the window and walk away.
Example of a Fake Facebook Competition
Ok, so let’s bring it all together with this fake Aer Lingus Facebook page. First of all, we’ve already shown you that Aer Lingus do have that elusive blue verification tick. A quick search on Facebook would have set off alarm bells in your head when you saw this competition.
Next up, the name itself, even with the tick missing should make you think twice. A brand as big as Aer Lingus will nearly always have “Aer Lingus” as their Facebook name. That extra Ireland at the end, again, should be set the alarm bells ringing.
Finally, isn’t it all a bit too good to be true? Do a couple of things on Facebook and you’ll be one of thirty to get this amazing prize? Well, that “limited” number of prizes adds the urgency which leads to people dropping their guard. Actually, it’s so effective that you can see Sinead there didn’t pay any attention to the warning we were issuing to the public and jumped right in with her entry to the competition.
For the Love of Jebus: Pay Attention to What You Like
As funny as it was to have someone enter a competition on our Facebook page while we were warning them about the dangers, this is a very serious problem. Our readers informed us that this example also asked people for their phone number, leave missed calls and then charge a fortune when calls were returned.
Even when being extremely careful, I know for a fact I’ve had my own personal data leaked online – you can read all about it. With so many companies not looking after your data, don’t go feeding fraudsters with the same. When you ‘like and share’ you’re not only passing your account over to scammers, you’re also enticing your own friends and family to do the same.