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24 B Dick St, Cambridge

Who Wants a Free Campervan?

Everyone right? And who can afford to give one away on Facebook? That’s right, no one. Literally no business in the world can afford to give away something worth $100,000. Even $1600 – would you like a free iPhone X? Of course, but if you want one you’ll have to buy it, because that Facebook post asking you to Like and Share to win one is a big fat fake.

There are real competitions going on – I once won a new bike helmet for my son. It’s actually pretty easy to spot, just have a quick look at the page of the ‘business’ that has posted the competition. Real businesses using social media will have a history of posts, photos and activity. Accounts set up for scams are usually hastily put together and basically empty.

Then consider what the competition requires of you for entry. For example Facebook’s competition rules state that contests must not require that you Share the post to enter, or that you Tag your Friends. Scammers ask you to do these things to spread their ‘competition’ far and wide, by Sharing or Tagging your friends you’re putting them at risk as well.

What Are They After?

Scammers are, in the end, always looking for money. They’re thieves. Once they’ve chosen their ‘winner’ (or winners, because just like email scams, this is a numbers game) they will proceed to ask for money to ship the prize, or they could be after your personal details for a nice little piece of identity theft. You should guard your personal details like the keys to your house. You might be invited to take part in a survey, which could lead to you inadvertently agreeing to nefarious Terms and Conditions. If you don’t like Malware or Spyware, don’t do this.

Here is the Netsafe page covering fake social media competitions, another article on this from Lieberman Tech, and some tips for running a real competition from Hootsuite. This last one contains Facebook’s competition rules.

And of course, it would hardly be a post on the rarity of a free lunch unless I ended with the adage: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is