Like and Share Scams

Overview

These sorts of scam are usually found doing the rounds on Facebook. They have been circulating for many years.

Like and Share Scams seem quite harmless; many people when informed that they’ve taken part in one say things like “no harm done”. They are often far from harmless in fact.

They are the type of scam which relies on people’s desire to have stuff, usually very expensive stuff.

Effect

Firstly, there’s the fact that the people using these scams can track the likes and shares to create a list of gullible people whom they can target with other scams in future.

Then there’s the burden they place on Facebook’s servers. Each fake page, each like, each share, they all take up space on a server. They add unnecessary rows to tables in a database which ultimately slows the performance of the whole system. Luckily, given the size of Facebook’s infrastructure the performance hit is probably negligible but as scams like this become more prevalent that could change.

Next up we have the irritation that sharing such rubbish causes. Have you noticed that people have vanished from your friends list or that they’ve stopped responding to content you post. They’ve probably either blocked or unfollowed you because they’re fed up of seeing the same pointless bullshit over and over again. People will only tell you so many times that what you’re sharing is fake or scammy before they get sick of it and finally do social distancing Facebook style.

Signs

These types of scams are really easy to spot which makes their popularity so surprising.

Have you seen a post on Facebook offering so many people a free holiday because they overbooked and had so many cancellations? How about a new car because a bunch of people didn’t like the colour? Damaged boxes prompting the giving away of 5000 TVs? These are the usual type of thing you see floating around. People like TVs, holidays and cars and often can’t afford them so why not offer them for free? But guess what, they don’t exist!

You can tell by checking one simple thing. Visit the page which is offering the holiday/TV/car/whatever. You will most likely find that that page has only one post (possibly 2 or 3 but all offering the same thing). You will see thousands of people have shared the post and commented yet nobody ever wins.

You may think that the page seems legit because of its name. Look closer. The official Facebook page for a company does not usually have a . (full stop, period or anything else) in its name unless it is actually part of the organisation’s name. These things are very subtle but if you pay close enough attention you will spot the difference. If you are in doubt search for the actual official page of the organisation who is supposedly offering the free stuff.

You will find that the official page is much more established. Check how long the page has been active for, the number and frequency of posts, whether the page has changed its name recently etc.

The signs are all there, just look for them. See past your desire for stuff, your “need” for a holiday abroad and the “no harm done” attitude and you will realise that you are being scammed. Trust me, your friends will like you so much better when you stop falling for this nonsense.

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