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Scams on Facebook pop up fairly frequently, and you’ll often see your friends sharing them! Offering high-value prizes in a Facebook ‘Like & Share’ giveaway is a fast way to gain page likes and comments. But the prizes aren’t genuine, they’re just a method of ‘like-farming’ – gaining thousands of fans to make a page valuable to scammers.

Here’s a short video to explain what like-farming is, and how you can spot a fake page.

What’s in it for the page?

It’s very difficult to encourage people to Like your Facebook page these days (Facebook terms state you’re not allowed to make a Like a requirement of entry for a giveaway!), so a page with lots of fans can be valuable to companies. They can sell the page, or use it to promote their own products or website. They may use it to send out spam advertising, or malware viruses – in the hope that people will click on them and give access to personal details, or sign up to expensive text services! This process is called ‘Like farming’, and an expensive prize is the easiest way to encourage people to like and share pages.

A recent Example of a “Like-Farming” Scam

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How to spot if a page/promotion is a scam

You may notice one or all of these features:

No information on the About section

If there’s no contact details listed, it’s a scam. Why encourage people to like your Facebook page if you plan to hide your identity?

There may actually be a linked site in the About section – but check it out carefully. Is it live or a holding page? Is it even related to the Facebook page content? In the case of MyHighlandTitles, their sparse site looks like a shop – but there’s no information about the company apart from photos and a PayPal button at Checkout.

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Are the prizes too good to be true?

If there is a valuable or desirable prize – five cars, unspecified flights and cash for example – it’s a scam. Genuine promoters don’t give away valuable prizes like these via like & share timeline promotions – they use a Facebook app or website form to capture data from the entrants.

The promotion has no terms and conditions

All prize draws and competitions in the UK must have terms & conditions, and these must be easily accessible to all prospective entrants so we can read them before we decide whether to enter! If there’s no T&Cs or closing date, be suspicious.

Are there spelling mistakes on the page?

Spelling mistakes or a full stop in the page name or prize description are a clue to the fakes – and notice that iPhone and iPad always have a lower case i and upper case P in the names.

The page has only been set up recently

Fake and scam pages don’t usually last more than a few months before Facebook takes them down. Scroll back on their timeline to see if there’s any worthwhile content on the page – if it’s 2 months old and all the posts are giveaways, it’s a fake!

What you should do

If you’re not sure a comp is genuine, DON’T enter it. Warm your Facebook friends, or check www.hoax-slayer.com to see if the scam appears there. Never give out your bank details, and make sure you have up to date anti-virus software on your computer.

You can report a page to Facebook by clicking the More menu (three dots) then Report page.

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In the pop-up choose It’s spam. Don’t expect it to disappear straight away – there will need to be a lot of reports for Facebook to take notice!

Only a tiny percentage of online competitions and prize draws are a scam – don’t let them put you off comping! Read my Get Started guide and see my list of competition websites for the websites you can trust.

List of scam pages

Most fake pages will be taken down eventually – but it can take Facebook a while to do it! Here are some links to current scam pages (as at September 2015) – lots of these are linked to the same person, and you’ll see the same fake giveaways doing the rounds.

If you know of more, please leave links in the comments – thanks!

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