Claims that sharing a post on Facebook will land you a nice prize are commonly encountered on the social networking site, so we take a look at them to see how they work, why it is important to avoid them and how to tell between fake promotions and genuine ones.
If while scrolling down your Facebook newsfeed you happened to stumble upon a post that told you to like, share and comment on it to win something, then you’re not alone.
But are they scams? Well, as it turns out, there is a very good chance you are looking at a scam if you’re being told to like, share and comment on a particular post. First, let’s look at an example, below.
You can see from the post that it asks you to visit a webpage, share the post on your timeline as well as like and comment on the post. Yes, this is a scam post, and here is how you can tell..
Firstly, you should be sceptical of these types of posts that ask you to visit an external webpage, like the above example does in step 1. This doesn’t automatically make it a scam, since legitimate promotions can ask you to visit another webpage too, but luring visitors to external webpages is also popular with “bait and switch” scams trying to get you to sign-up to spammy “rewards programs” or lure you into giving out your personal information to spammy marketing companies through surveys and questionnaires.
Secondly, at step 2 the post asks you to share it on your timeline. This is a big giveaway, since legitimate promotions on Facebook are not allowed to ask you to do this. While promotions can ask you to like or comment on a post, they cannot ask you to share things on your own timeline. This is (in part) down to most people having their timelines set to private, so the people who made the post couldn’t determine whether you shared it or not.
Thirdly, the page that made the post isn’t a legitimate page belonging to Range Rover, which is easily established by visiting the page and looking at it. Official pages for large brands like Range Rover are denoted by a blue verification tick that appears by the page name, which this doesn’t have. As you can see from the image above, the page only has 1000 followers, does not have the blue verification tick and has only been posting since 2015.
Let’s take another look at an example of a scammy giveaway post, this time claiming to give away an Apple iPhone. The instructions look very similar to the previous scam targeting Range Rover fans. While this post doesn’t mention anything about visiting an external webpage, the tell-tale signs are still there.
For example, once again the promotion has nothing to do with Apple. The page name is spelt incorrectly and when we visited the page it mostly had posts asking you to like and share its posts, which means it is what we call a like-farming Facebook page (click here for more information on like-farming.)
And again the post is asking you to share the post onto your own timeline, which as we pointed out earlier, is against Facebook’s terms and conditions. So this is yet another scam, and you can easily see the similarities between our two examples here.
Why avoid these scams?
They may look harmless, but they’re not. These scams try and get you to follow spammy Facebook pages so you will see other spammy and potentially malicious content they post.
And if these scams tell you to visit external webpages – like our Range Rover example above – these webpages can do all sorts of undesirable stuff with your personal information that you are told to give them, including targeting you with all sorts of spam, but also potentially identity theft as well.
And remember, since you’re sharing these posts on your Facebook newsfeed, your friends are going to see them too, so even if you don’t give them your personal information, your friends might!
Range Rover and iPhones are just two examples, but scammers also use many other things like the latest must-have gadgets, airline tickets, supermarket or high-street store vouchers, tickets to Disneyland or even PCs as bait.
So, when you see posts like our examples above, remember that you won’t be getting free stuff for sharing photos on your timeline. Always do your due diligence before entering promotions on Facebook and ensure that the page posting them is genuine and can be trusted.