Facebook Giveaway Scams: Worse than Fake News

I’d be willing to bet that if you scrolled through your Facebook news feed right now, you’d see at least one post promoting a fantastic giveaway. You might even see multiple posts of the same giveaway, shared by like-minded individuals. I hate to break this to you, but these are Facebook giveaway scams.

facebook giveaway scams

Let’s be clear – no one is giving away a luxury RV or a Range Rover or airline tickets. There is no warehouse of iPads or iPhones that have been opened and can’t be sold as new if the box seal is broken. That luxury dream home is just that – a dream. You’ll have to actually purchase an Xbox or Playstation if you want one.

And while we’re at it, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

What’s the harm in sharing a Facebook giveaway?

Most of these scams instruct you to “like & share” a post in order to enter into a pool of possible winners. Maybe you’ve known some otherwise sensible people who have fallen for this scheme. Maybe you’ve done it yourself, thinking, “what could it hurt?”

The answer to “what could it hurt?” is plenty. Facebook giveaway scams exist for one reason: to get something from you. If you’re overly fond of your personal information (and you should be), avoid these “like & share” schemes.

How do these “like and share” scams work?

Scams like the RV giveaway operate on a principle known as “like farming.”  The name of the like-farming game is “engagement” and the more engagement a post gets in the form of likes and shares, the more Facebook’s algorithm pushes it to newsfeeds. The more people who see such a post, the more likely they will engage with it. Click on one of these posts and anything is possible, including:

  • Hijacked profiles
  • Collection of personal info like birthdates and email addresses
  • Exposure of friends lists, IP addresses, and device information
  • Exposure to malware
  • Scamming you out of money

How to spot Facebook giveaway scams

Facebook giveaway scams are a real and persistent threat to your personal information, but not all giveaways on Facebook are scams. Some companies do participate in giveaways, which they promote using their official company Facebook page. Which is to say – the giveaway is generated elsewhere (such as on their company website) and then is promoted via social media channels.

• Check it out

Legitimate companies conducting legitimate giveaways will promote them on their company website as well as through social media. Verify the giveaway by going to the company website or calling the company in question. Don’t follow the links given on the giveaway page – they may take you to a fake “official” website.

• Use common sense

Not even Mark Zuckerberg has enough money to give money to everyone who clicks on a scam page, regardless what that page may promise. The same goes for RV manufacturers, auto dealers, airlines, and any other page giving away anything for “free.”

• Don’t give out personal information

If a page requires personal information (your birthdate, your email address, etc.) to move forward with your “entry,” stop. Nothing good can come from this.

• Stay away from surveys

Fake giveaways sometimes employ a survey as part of your “entry” into their contest. You may be inviting malware by completing such a survey.

• Be careful granting permissions

Before you click “accept” on third-party permissions, take a look at what you’re allowing. Don’t allow access to your friends list, device information, or anything else that strays into the realm of personal info.

Too Good to Be True

If you’re tired of seeing fake Facebook giveaways on your news feed, you’re not alone. Facebook has a number of protocols in place to help circumvent the spread of scams, spam, and other malicious content. If you see a post, event, or profile that you know is a scam, you can report it.

Bottom line: whenever you see a fantastic giveaway on Facebook, ask yourself if it seems too good to be true. Chances are, it is.