Contest winners fall victim to Facebook scams
Participants in Facebook contests are warned that they could be targeted by scammers for the purpose of stealing personal and financial information.
Consumer Protection’s WA ScamNet reports that contests run by legitimate WA businesses on their Facebook pages are hijacked by scammers who create a bogus page using a similar or slightly altered name of the real business.
Contest entrants are promised the chance to win a prize if they share, like or comment on the contest post and that’s when the scammers strike.
Participants then receive a message from the fake profile saying that they have won but that they must register their details by clicking on a link. The link leads to a fake website confirming the win, but the “winners” must first provide their personal and financial information to get the prize.
Competitions targeted in recent months are mostly run by tourism and hotel businesses and include hotels, resorts, restaurants, bars and breweries.
Consumer Protection Commissioner Gary Newcombe said these companies were hit with a double whammy.
“Operators in this industry are already grappling with the effects of COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, so they now have to deal with social media scammers disrupting promotions that aim to boost their business,” he said. he declares.
A common marketing ploy is to increase the number of subscribers to a Facebook page by running contests that offer free accommodation, food, and alcohol prizes. But things quickly turn sour when entrants are targeted by crooks.
“Our warning is that people who receive these ‘congratulations you are a winner’ messages should be very suspicious and verify that the message is coming from the actual company. Message through the origin page or call them if in doubt before being directed to a bogus website and disclosing vital personal information that could be used to steal your identity or money.
“It’s also cool to know that business pages can’t send direct messages to users, so that’s another reason to be wary. Normally, the company will announce the winner in the original message and provide instructions on how to collect the prize.
“Businesses should also be aware of these scams and post warnings as soon as possible if they find out that participants are being contacted in this way. “
Other tips to protect yourself against these scams:
- Don’t accept random friend requests or posts from pages claiming to be from a business – a business page can’t direct message you, it can only reply to a message you’ve sent ;
- Don’t click on social media links sent by someone you don’t know;
- Get in touch with the legitimate business, using their official contact details, to verify if an offer is genuine;
- Never enter your personal, credit card or online bank account information on a website that you are not sure is genuine;
- If you have already provided information, immediately contact your credit card provider or bank for advice, as you may need to cancel credit cards and accounts.
For more information or to report a scam, go to the WA ScamNet website or call 1300 30 40 54.