Fake competition ads recently emerged on Facebook claiming to offer the chance to win getaways, for ‘Alton Towers Breaks’ and ‘Center Parcs Resorts’, worth more than £2,000.
  • The pages collectively garnered at least over 100,000 likes before they were shut down by Facebook.
  • Posts from the pages told users that all they need to do is ‘like’, ‘comment’ and ‘sign up’ in order to be entered into the giveaway.
Images and branding from official websites were copied to create a sense of authenticity.
  • Users who clicked the sign-up option at the top of the page were taken to a broken website with no competition details.
  • It’s unclear if the pages asked for more personal details after users interacted with the posts.
  • However, this fake competition ‘sign up’ could be tracking users who click through to the ‘broken’ website, setting them up to receive spam ads from the cyber miscreants who have launched the scams.
These were just the latest scams to appear on the popular social media platform.
  • According to Facebook it disables billions of fake accounts every year and removes millions of fraudulent posts.
Just let those numbers sink in for a moment.

Quick check points to avoid social media ad scams
  • Just because an ad is running on Facebook it doesn’t mean it’s legitimate. Of course many are, but many aren’t.
  • Does the deal appear to be ‘too good to be true’? If in doubt check the company independently of the ad and see if the promotion is also running on its website.
  • If you’ve followed a link, does the URL look suspicious? Fake links generally imitate established websites, often by adding words and domains. Pay close attention, if it’s genuine the URL will mirror exactly the company’s website. If it doesn’t, and this could include something as innocuous as an extra full stop, leave the site.
  • Scammers can be sophisticated but there could be inconsistencies in the messaging such as grammatical errors that gives the game away. You’ll find that scammers whose first language isn’t English generally make these mistakes.
  • Reach out to the company on social media, email or phone to check whether the competition or giveaway is real.