The BBC Victoria Derbyshire show investigated the rise of fake Facebook raffles, with some people losing hundreds of pounds in promotions that do not exist. Raffles in the UK are lotteries and how they are run and who can run them is regulated by the Gambling Commission. Within gambling law there are eight categories of lottery, and the most important point to note is that they cannot be operated for commercial or private gain. You can watch the show here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05qqk5c
While raffle groups are a new class of social media fraud, Fake Facebook promotions have been doing the rounds for years. I’ve seen posts by ‘Virgin’ claiming to give away First Class flights for a year, ‘Apple’ giving away thousands of damaged iPads, and even ‘Sharpie’ offering practically everyone a lifetime supply of marvellous pens.
If you’re uncertain if a prize promotion on Facebook is genuine or otherwise, there’s plenty of clues to determine its legitimacy.
- Premium brands, like Apple, almost never give away their products. These companies have spent millions of pounds creating a brand image that is so strong and coveted, there’s simply no need for them to give away their own product for free.
- Take a very close look at the copy. Scammers are notoriously crap at both spelling and grammar.
- Check to see how long the Facebook ‘page’ has been live. Was it set up a few days ago or has it been social for as long as Facebook itself. Walt Disney World is constantly subject to fake giveaways and is a great example of how to separate fact from fraud. The real Walt Disney Facebook page is full of recent and historic content, while fake pages set up only to defraud consumers, are generally new and have no other content than the phoney prize draw. And look for the blue tick. Genuine brand pages are verified. Scam pages are not.
- How many fans does the page have? Back to Walt Disney World again, which has around 16 million chums. You will see that fake Disney pages are significantly less popular with anything between a few hundred to a few thousand likes.
- Genuine prize promotions will never ask you to Like and Share a prize post. Like and Share is against Facebook platform terms and most legitimate marketers know this, and would not make it a condition of entry into a giveaway.
- I have never once seen a fake prize draw with a set of terms and conditions. Not once. Ever. If you can’t see any rules, walk away.
If you know of a giveaway or raffle scam on Facebook, or any other digital platform, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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