I hope this information will help you spot a scam/fake site.
Scam/Fakes sites are on Facebook for the following reasons
1. To like harvest
2. To get your information
3. To earn money through affiliated links
4. To scam you out of your money
I'm going to explain the above in a bit more detail.
1. LIKE HARVESTING
A scammer will make a page. They will then by various means get people to like and shared the page. Some of the tricks they use include:
- a heart wrenching picture such as a cancer sufferer, an abused animal, a child molester, etc these pictures are used without permission. There will be usually text included such as Like and share if you hate cancer ignore if your a heartless piece of shit (okay maybe not quite that graphic but it's the implication behind the like and share bit) or like and share if your against animal abuse ignore if you like having sex with horses and so on and so on. The purpose is to get you to like and share the post and the page with the text written in such a way as to make you out to be evil and nasty if you dont.
- a post with or without a heart wrenching picture saying that Microsoft, Bill Gate, Facebook etc will donate 25c (it's usually in american but could be 25p or other currency) to some charity for every like and share - again they are working hard to get you to like and shared the post and page
- a post that Bill Gates, Microsoft, Facebook, someone else who is loaded is giving away a prize of $gazillion to one lucky person who likes and shares the post/page
- a post that you can win some amazing prize by liking and sharing the post to all your friends.
With all of the above they want you to like the page and the post and to share it.
They want you to share it so they can reach as many people as possible, if your friends see you sharing something they are likely to look at the post and they might be encouraged to like and share too.
So - if you share to your wall -
1 share and 1 like
5 of your friends then share and like
5 shares and 5 likes
5 of their friends share and like
25 shares and 25 likes
5 of their friends share and like
125 shares and 125 likes
So the numbers increase exponentially and before you know it the page has a few thousand likes and shares and the more people who like and share it - the more its showing up on news feeds and timelines and the more people will see it and like and share it.
Whats the purpose of all this?
Well once they have reached a set number of likes on the page its going to show up in lots of newsfeed and timelines and high on searches too. They can then sell on the page. The more likes and shares, the higher the value of the page.
Who do they sell it to? fake companies, scammers and other nefarious people who then use it to scam people.
It's easier to trust a page with 10,000 likes than one with 100 likes.
How can you tell a fake page?
Luckily it's fairly easy to tell a fake page:
1. Have a look at it's history - scroll down the page - if there s literally nothing but giveaways, no winner announcements and little info it's likely to be a scam or fake page
2. How long as the page been running for and when was it created? If it's just been started and is giving away crazy prizes its most likely a scam or fake page
3. Is it claiming to be part of or affiliated with a specific well known company E.g. Disney, Thomas Cook etc? Check by the name for a blue tick - if it doesn't have a blue tick it's not a verified company page. Other things to look out for are slight mispelling's of the name and / or additional punctuation e.g Disney. Company or Tomas Cook Holidays, Carnivaal Cruises etc. Also check the company information section and the logos used. If your not sure then check out the companies official page - if they are working with another company or running an amazing giveaway its going to be listed on their official page
4. Do they have a website? If it's a real business then they will have a website or at the very least a lik to their etsy shop. If the website is down or the has a strange link then it might be a scam page
5. Is it too good to be true? No company is going to give away 1000 free cruise line tickets, or 200 first class flights or 700 ipad airs if it looks too good to be true it probably is!
What should you do if you have been suckered in?
First thing first - go to your timeline - find the shared post and delete it
Second - unlike the post, unlike the page and hit the report button - report it as a fake, as a copy or as spam.
Third if you see your friends or family sharing it - tell them to stop - tell them it's a scam and tell them to follow the steps above.
Why is it important to do this?
Because it can lead to vulnerable people being fooled and scammed
At the least it's annoying to have your page spammed with fake comps at the worst by promoting the page you are helping the scammers who will then go out and prey on other people.
2. GETTING YOUR INFORMATION
Please see my post on SPAM sites here.
Often these fake pages will have a link to another site to put your information in to win or enter. Once you have done this your information can then be sold on by the scammers or used by aggressive telesales / marketing people. I wont go into detail here as I have already written in depth about it on the SPAM site posts.
3. TO EARN MONEY THROUGH AFFILIATED LINKS
These fake scam pages will often have a link for you to enter to win the competition - this will be a link to sign up for some site, or to complete a survey or something similar. As soon as you click on the link the scammer is earning money, if you complete the sign up process then they earn even more money. It's a win win for them and a LOSE for you as you are likely signing up to a spam site or worse. If you share their post and your friends all click on the link thats even more for them!
4. TO SCAM YOU OUT OF MONEY.
So the page announces you as a winner (along with a whole bunch of other people) The prize is free but you have to pay postage. You can pay it via paypal, money transfer or some other means. The P&P is only a small amount say £3. But they announce 3000 winners, the prize costs less than 25p from china or some other country an they are pocketing nearly 10 grand off the back of their competition. That's a best case scenario. A worst case is where you give them some information that allows them to get access to and wipe out your accounts or through paypal.
If in order to get your prize you have to pay it is highly likely that it's a scam and you should seriously consider whether you should enter. You should NEVER give out bank details or any other information.
The only cases where you may need to pay towards the prize would be:
- The item is coming from outside the UK and your liable for tax and customs - you should take this into consideration when entering international comps (although I have had prizes come this way and just be marked as gift so no customs applies)
- The competitions clearly states that anyone applying from outside the country it is run from will have to pay the international postage costs
- The competition is being run by a small business - they clearly state in advance on the competition post that the item is collection only or can be posted at the winners expense and has a set postage cost listed (and is only offering 1 or 2 prizes)
- If the prize is a holiday and there are additional expenses not included with the prize e.g.the cost of upgrade, the cost of a single person supplement, the cost of visas, the cost of travel insurance, etc
- If the prize is for appliances or furniture or flooring etc where the prize is the item but fitting is not included.
Scammers are clever people - they are constantly changing the way they work in order to rip people off - if they put as much effort into a real job they would be loaded! Therefore this page doesn't list every scam but hopefully it does list the main ones run on facebook and also how to spot them.
Spotting fake comps on other sites is a whole different topic and I will be posting on that separately.
Any comments or feedback or anything you think I have left out please let me know