Win a holiday to Lapland – a seasonal Facebook scam

The most wonderful time of the year is fast-approaching, but it’s also the time of year when the classic Lapland holiday scam makes a reappearance. I had a quick look on Facebook, searched for ‘Lapland competition’ and quickly found a prize promotion that appeared to offer the chance to win a family holiday to Santa’s homeland. The post read:

5 Nights in wonderful Lapland with your Family.
Return Flights + Luxury Cabin
Meet Santa + Toys for Kids.
To win simply:-
{LIKE} This Post
{SHARE} This Post
{COMMENT} “Lapland” below.
Winners picked on Friday!
Good Luck”

Is this a scam? Yes, it’s unequivocally a scam and sadly no one who engages with it is going to be walking in a winter wonderland any time soon. There are lots of ways to tell (see my post on how to spot a Facebook scam), but the most obvious one is that it all seems too good to be true. A holiday to Lapland and all you have to do is like, share and comment? That ought to set sleigh bells ringing straight off.

Actually, there are so many obvious giveaways that this is a scam not a genuine prize promotion. It says winners will be picked on Friday, but which Friday? That’s not a proper closing date, is it? Where are the terms and conditions? A prize promotion must have terms and conditions. Is there a blue tick next to the page name to show it’s verified by Facebook? No. And what about the information in the About section? It’s sparse, to say the least, and there’s no attempt to list a company website, even a fake one. I could go on…

When I found this page, the top post had 4.5k likes and 3.8k shares. I flicked through the comments and this one was typical: “What a fantastic way to spend my 40th birthday which is on the 11th December with my beautiful family of 5 and 4 years of age. It’s always be my dream to see the northern lights.” I clicked through to the woman’s profile and, although I can’t say for sure, she looked like a real person (she hadn’t updated her privacy settings recently) and that confirms that real people – people like you and me – are falling for this scam.

As I’ve said before, it’s easy to be drawn in. I’d love to win a holiday to Lapland, too, but this is ‘like farming’. I’m going to do a proper post on that soon, but basically scammers fraudulently build a following on Facebook which they then use to con people into giving away their money or their personal data, including financial information. If you look at the Community figures for this page, 165k people like it and 167k follow it. That’s a massive number of Facebookers who have opened themselves up to potential exploitation by the scammers.

This is just one example of a Lapland holiday scam. There are many others, some of which even use exactly the same photographs as this page, and many, many other fake prize promotions on Facebook. Please don’t fall for it yourself and please do all you can to raise awareness of scams like this. That’s what’s at the top of my Christmas list. Well, joint top, along with world peace, of course…

Sarah Burns is Prizeology’s Chief Prizeologist, an IPM Board Director, and a SCAMbassador for National Trading Standards Scams Team. She can spot Facebook competition scam from a mile away.

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