Social Media Blog

How to Pick a Facebook Scam

Posted by on 7 Apr 2015

More and more people are falling for scams which seem to be multiplying by the day on Facebook. A few weeks ago tens of thousands of people fell for a Facebook scam purportedly from Qantas and offering free first class flights.

We noticed the scam on the Monday whilst browsing through my news feed. We were informed by Facebook that a number of my friends had liked and/or shared what seemed to be the “Qantas” page which was giving away free first class flights for a year!

We immediately clicked into the page because I thought to myself “that doesn’t sound right” and sure enough, we could pick almost immediately that the page was a scam.

What surprised us the most was how rapidly it spread around to a huge number of people on our friends' lists and more surprising was how none of them caught onto the fact it was a scam. Within hours the page went from a thousand likes to tens of thousands of likes – proof of how quickly things spread on social media.

The question is, how can you too be on the forefront in picking a Facebook scam? Here are our tips: 

  1. The verification – look for the blue verification tick or badge. Generally, this means that the page has been verified by Facebook as being authentic. 
  2. Very little “likes” – if you look at the real Qantas Facebook page it has (at last check) 627,007 likes, this page had a lot less than that.  
  3. If it’s too good to be true then it probably is – free first class flights was the dead giveaway for me.  
  4. The title of the page – the scam Facebook page title was “Qantas Airline” and for me, just didn’t look right. Just one quick search for the real Qantas page and you would have seen that it’s simply called “Qantas”.  
  5. The page itself just not looking authentic – there’s something about a scam page that just doesn’t seem as professional as the real one. If you look at almost any scam page compared to the real one you’ll see the real one has plenty of information under that heading, plenty of pictures posted (that look professionally taken) and just a general indication that the page has been around for some time.  
  6. The timeline of posts – we’ve noticed that scam pages generally have had no other posts or very little other posts. Most of us that use Facebook would know that Qantas has had a social media presence for some time therefore there should be a whole history on its page of past posts.  
  7. There were no “posts by others” – depending on your Facebook mobile app, you can select to see “posts by others” as opposed to “posts by page”. The real Qantas page has plenty of “posts by others” – an obvious given people post very frequently on the Qantas page about their experiences with Qantas.  
  8. Go to www.hoax-slayer.com - if in doubt or unsure check out that website. You can usually find the answer quickly as to whether something is a scam.

If you have been affected by a scam or would like to further discuss any effects social media may have on you or your business please contact our Digital Media & Technology team in Parramatta and Norwest.