If the summer holiday New World scam taught us anything, it is simply that you can’t be too careful when it comes to competitions. Even when you see a trustworthy brand attached to the giveaway, we would strongly urge you to take a step back and consider these safety measures before giving away your personal information, or following, commenting on, and sharing any scams…
Is the page sharing the competition official?
Find the page that originally posted the competition and give it a quick inspection. Look for the following tells of an official brand page:
- Is there a blue tick next to the profile name? (bigger brands are usually guaranteed to have one of these badges to mark their legitimacy)
- Do they post regularly? Are the posts informational and product/service related or spammy?
- Do they reply to comments? When they do, do they do so with a professional manner?
- Are there any reviews/recommendations from legitimate people with different surnames?
- Do they have a website link? Does it lead to a legitimate site? If not, be sure to close your browser so as to avoid accidentally clicking on any dodgy pop-ups!
If the page passes all or most of these checks, you’re hopefully looking at a reliable competition. Now, for our next and perhaps most important tip…
If it looks too good to be true, it most definitely is!
This one involves a dash of logic and a sprinkle of commonsense. Consider the competition critically. How does it benefit the business? Usually, a giveaway is designed to achieve one of the following things for the brand:
- It raises awareness for the brand’s event, services or products
- It encourages interaction in the form of likes, sharing and comments
- It makes the page look popular and successful as they gain hundreds of new followers and appear to be financially stable enough to host giveaways
Now reconsider the competition, knowing these brand-goals. Will this competition promote the brand in any beneficial way? Are the brand’s services or products related to the giveaway? Is the competition affordable for the brand – for example, would a small run-from-home handmade soap company really be able to afford giving away a car?
At the end of the day, if a competition is giving more than the brand will be getting, there’s a very good chance that this is a very bad scam, and certainly nobody will be winning in this giveaway.
Also, while you’re here, please don’t go sharing those ‘copy and paste this post to your status’ scams, either…
We’ve all seen them. Those posts that our friends prompt us to copy and paste to our own pages in an effort to spread the word, raise awareness or affirm an opinion. No matter how righteous the cause might appear or how threatening the supposed subject of the protest, copying, pasting and sharing anything to your page is always ineffective and, unfortunately, a potential security risk.
These viral copy + paste messages simply make it easier for no-good advertisers on Facebook to find and view your profile. While your privacy settings might safely keep you from appearing in a search for your name, a search for the post you copied, pasted and shared will reveal you among the other thousands of people unfortunate enough to have been fooled into copying and pasting the scammy content.
If you’re passionate about a subject and want to protest or share your opinion, find a safer and more creative way to do so such as a blogging website or a letter to your local paper.