How to spot a scam Facebook competition

This man shared a Facebook post offering a free cruise to the South Pacific, you won’t believe what happened next. Actually you will, because you’ve probably seen it happen time and again.

Not a day goes by without someone sharing yet another Facebook post without checking to see if it’s real. The fact they have the internet at their finger tips and could easily verify its authenticity? Ha! As if you’d do that.

So hearing that Royal Caribbean International has recently released a warning urging Facebook users not to click on a scam competition page offering a free cruise doesn’t surprise me, but it does make me wonder why users aren’t learning from past mistakes. Is it really that difficult?

Aside from using common sense to work out if a competition page is real, just think of the old saying ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is’.

How to spot a fake/scam social media profile

There are many ways to do this, but some of the simplest are:

The age of the page –
The easiest way to determine if a deal is fake is to simply click on the Facebook profile – whether it’s supposedly Qantas, Land Rover, Virgin Galactic or Royal Caribbean – and scroll down the feed to see when the page was created. If this is the first and only post on the page, or the page was created a short time ago, it’s a fake.

The name and logos –
Not all hoaxers are created equal – that’s why some fake social media profiles are harder to spot than others. Some of the easiest mistakes to spot are the logo, which is often out-dated or pixelated, and the name of the actual social media page. If the wording sounds strange or there’s a random character in the title, don’t fall for it. If in doubt, do a quick search within Facebook to see if there’s another page.

The competition offering –
Is the deal offering first class return Jetstar flights to Canada? Well that’s clearly a fake. Jetstar don’t have first class, nor do they fly to Canada. Again if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If in doubt, Google it.

What can you do?

Report the fake competition page to Facebook. You don’t need to click on the link to do so, simply tap the down arrow on the right hand side of the post, in line with the page name, and select Report This Post. Fill out the steps and the Facebook team will beaver away in the background to process your claim. If you don’t get the result you were expecting, message the real page to let them know someone is impersonating them.

So, next time you’re thinking of entering a dodgy competition via Facebook, don’t forget that your friends and family will see you do so, and they’ll judge you harshly. Check to see if a competition is real before liking it, sharing it, or giving some random person on the other side of the world your details.

Written by
Chris Ashton

We're Chris Ashton and Simon Ceglinski, two Aussie travellers with a love of exploration and adventure, and the odd bit of luxury thrown in. We seek out street art, street food, and scuba diving wherever we go, and prefer the road less travelled over well-worn tourist paths.

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Written by Chris Ashton