JD Wetherspoon pubs may have pulled out of social media advertising in 2018 but that hasn’t stopped scammers from using the company as a hook to trick Facebook users with fake meal vouchers.

People who commented on the posts published by the fake Wetherspoons pages were told they will win meal vouchers if they receive comments from Wetherspoons.

But these comments didn’t come from Wetherspoons rather they came from scammers who set up the pages.

The posts read ‘Congratulations for those of you who have received comments from us, you have the opportunity to win them’. Users are then asked to like and share the post with their friends.

People who did ‘like’ and ‘share’ were then asked to follow a link to a website where they could enter a competition and win meal vouchers. When someone landed on the page they were asked to click a button to enter their details and claim their prize.

It appears that the ads didn’t work very effectively given that the fake Wetherspoons ads never garnered a large following. Either people are wising up to these scams, that ask for personal details, or the offer is simply too low level to entice people.

However, it does illustrate how pervasive and cunning fake Facebook ads can be.  This one was taken down by Facebook but fake ads will keep on coming that’s for sure. 

If you think you’ve spotted a social media scam, follow these steps:
  • The first thing is to ask yourself is whether the deal is ‘too good to be true’? If the deal or competition looks like a generous giveaway, it probably is a fake.
  • A quick Google search will tell you if the legitimate company is promoting the giveaway.
  • Check the URL – If you’ve followed a link, does the URL look suspicious? If it does, leave the site.
  • Check your social timeline. Is there a high number of people posting or sharing the same thing? They may have been scammed.
  • Check the branding. Scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated but there might be giveaways such as inconsistencies in the branding that could reveal the scam.
  • Send a message. If someone you know has posted or shared something suspicious, ask them about it. Send them a message to make sure the post is genuine or to establish whether they have been deceived.