A warning has been issued to Facebook users in Gedling borough over fake pages offering getaways worth more than £2,000.
Which? has found social media ads for fake Facebook competitions collecting hundreds of interactions from users in the borough.
The fake ‘Alton Towers Breaks’ and ‘Center Parcs Resorts’ pages claim to offer the chance to win getaways worth more than £2,000.
The Alton Towers page was set up on July 13 and has already amassed 74,000 likes. The Center Parcs Resorts page was set up in 2020 and has 33,000 likes.
Posts from the pages both follow the same format, telling users that all they need to do is ‘like’, ‘comment’ and ‘sign up’ in order to be entered into the giveaway. These sophisticated scams use images and branding taken from official websites to create the illusion of authenticity.
Users who click the sign-up option at the top of the page are taken to a broken website with no competition details. It’s unclear if the pages ask for more personal details after users interact with the posts.
These fake competition ‘sign up’ pages could be tracking users who click through to its website, priming them to receive spam ads from the people running the pages.
Users who have interacted with these pages can be caught in a vicious cycle where ‘likes’ inflate the popularity of the page, adding to the illusion of authenticity and further promoting it so it’s seen by more people.
A Facebook spokesperson told Which? that “Fraudulent and deceptive activity is not allowed on our platforms, and we have removed the Pages brought to our attention.
“Our team of over 35,000 safety and security experts disable billions of fake accounts every year and remove millions of fraudulent posts.
“We have donated £3 million to Citizens Advice to deliver a UK Scam Action Programme to raise awareness of online scams and help victims.”
A Center Parcs spokesman said about the page: “Like a lot of well-known brands, our brand name has been used without permission by unauthorised Facebook pages on a number of occasions.
“We have reported this post to Facebook and we would like to remind people not to enter their details or share the page. If ever in doubt about a post, please visit our official Facebook page to check if it is genuine.”
Alton Towers said, “We continually monitor social channels for imitation accounts created by unauthorised persons. While we take immediate steps to have these removed, we ask that social media users remain vigilant and check the authenticity of any accounts offering information and competitions relating to Alton Towers Resort.
“Any legitimate competitions and giveaways being run by Alton Towers Resort and approved third-parties will always be listed on our website altontowers.com.”
Follow these steps to help protect yourself from social media scams:
Is the deal ‘too good to be true’?
If the deal or competition is too good to be true, it probably is.
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 more and more sophisticated but there might be telltale signs, such as inconsistencies in the branding, that could give them away.
Send a message
If someone you know has posted or shared something suspicious, ask them. Send them a message to make sure, as it may have been intentional.
Contact the company directly
Reach out to the company on social media, via email or over the phone to check whether the competition or giveaway is real.