We have all seen the pages people share on Facebook that offer free vouchers, prizes or giveaways. These are more often than not fake pages set up by scammers. Read this article to find out how you can tell the scammer pages from the genuine ones.
Shown below is two recent examples we have seen. They are using the names of well known UK retails, and pictures of their staff or products to hook people into the offers they claim to have.
So you may ask what is the purpose of such pages, what is in it for the scammers ?
There is usually 3 things they want you to do, either one is a plus for them. If you like or share their fake page, you are helping build up their audience. If you act and try to claim the prizes or vouchers this is their ultimate goal, but this of cause is not possible unless they have built up likes and shares.
There is a number of different scams they use, and we have listed a few of the most common below.
The referral links – There is a lot of genuine websites that you can sign up to and gain vouchers or money for referring “friends”, the scammers use these sites to hook people in. They create Facebook pages to share the links, in the hope that people will sign up or share and like the pages so they become more popular. The more people that sign up, the more money or vouchers the scammer can earn.
The fake vouchers – The scammers work on the assumption that the type of people who share, like or sign up via there page are not very knowledgeable when it comes to IT and cyber security. They will create a fake website that you need to sign up to in order to claim some vouchers or a prize. You will need to create a username and password and maybe enter your address and other details to be able to claim a voucher or prize. You will do this but never get anything in return.
The scammer now has some important information about you, your full name and address, which can be sold on to others. Plus they have your e-mail address, and a password. Here they hope, because you have fell for this scam that this is the same password you use for your e-mail address. If they can get into your e-mail account, they can reset passwords for other sites without your knowledge. They can also sell this e-mail address and password to others who will try to use it on various sites.
The malware and virus links – This is a more risky scam as many people have antivirus software installed. You would click a link and it would load malware or a virus onto your machine. Depending on the software they installed, they could copy data from your PC or take control of it. This is often used to get banking or other personal information from your machine.
Look for the blue tick
All major retails on Facebook will have a blue tick after their name for their main Facebook page (see example below) the blue tick indicates that the page is the genuine official page for the given company / organization. The retails will only ever use these pages for any posts, including offers.
The scammers will often use names such as “Morrisons voucher giveaway” or similar for their page names.
We have seen some of these fake pages that have thousands of followers, so people often think they are genuine. There is sites that sell Facebook likes, for a low cost. Scammers will buy a few thousand likes and then more people will like the page, because they think its popular.
They often start the pages with genuine content in order to hook people in to like the page, so they will post normal posts that you would expect to see from that retailer then they will start with a few offers or prizes after.
If you see fake pages, you can report them to Facebook, and please don’t like or share them as this is what the scammers want you to do.
Duncan is a technology professional with over 20 years experience of working in various IT roles. He has a interest in cyber security, and has a wide range of other skills in radio, electronics and telecommunications.