No, they’re not giving away Range Rovers on Facebook

You’d think by now that people could tell a fake giveaway on Facebook from a real one, but apparently not. There are currently a number of fake car giveaways on Facebook that have gone more or less viral. These giveaways often claim to hand out luxury cars to lucky winners and this time there are several scams regarding Range Rover 2016.

rangerover2016giveaway

How do I know they are fake? Well it’s incredibly simple to find out, but a lot of people don’t think or don’t care. So they participate and help the scammers build up their pages and spam their Facebook friends in the process.

The post above has been shared more than 60,000 times and the pages has now more than 30,000 followers. But it is all fake of course. No brand would give away three expensive luxury cars in a simple contest that so blatantly brakes Facebook’s rules.

If it’s the very first post on the page: Hoax!

If the URL is not a nice and short vanity URL like you’d expect from a large brand: Hoax!

rangerover2016giveaway2

So if you or your friends ever wonder how you can avoid falling for hoaxes like these, then maybe you should check my blog post about “How to spot a fake giveaway on Facebook”.

BMW are giving away a brand new BMW M5 on Facebook. Not!

bmw m5 giveaway

Do you think that BMW would give away a brand new car for free on Facebook through a simple “event”? Really? Of course they aren’t. If they would create a giveaway, it would be done professionally in a way that would maximize the return of the investment. Yet, thousands of people think that the simplest of hoaxes is the real deal and gladly accept invitations to a Facebook event, thinking they might actually win a new BMW M5. A new community page is attracting thousands of people to a “BMW M5 Giveaway 2013” (edit: link no longer works) who are encouraged to like the page and invite ten friends. More than 200,000 people have been invited so far. And without any doubt, this is a hoax from start to finish.

So if you care at all whether you are tricked into liking fake pages on social networks, maybe it is time you learn a few basic tricks on how to spot a fake Facebook competition of giveaway. It really doesn’t take a genius.

How to spot a fake giveaway on Facebook

First of all, is it reasonable that a large brand is giving away something really valueable for just a few likes in return? Probably not. The more “upscale” brand, the more quality we can expect in a marketing activity. This event could have been set up by a 10-year old.

Brands use multiple channels to communicate. Is this contest or giveaway communicated on any other place on the web? On the brand webpage or the brand Facebook page? If not, it’s probably fake.

Are you being asked to spam your friends with shares, likes or invites? Big brands try to play by the book. If you are asked to do something that could be considered spam or not following the guidelines of Facebook, it’s a hoax.

Does the page have credible branding? The BMW giveaway is a community page. A brand would not use a community page to promote a new product. And as you see below, the page doesn’t have a branded vanity URL, which you would expect a big brand to use (click on the images to see larger version).

bmw m5 giveaway facebook

Does the page have credible background information? If not, it’s not only a hoax, it’s a lazy hoax.

Did the page just launch or has it communicated trustworthy information for some time? If it is new and the giveaway is the very first post, you should think again.

bmw m5 giveaway facebook

Does the contest or giveaway have a professional touch? If there are several spelling errors in just a few paragraphs, it’s probably fake.

bmw m5 giveaway facebook

Does the information change on the event page? Are  there copies? For a brief second, this giveaway page pointed to a second, similar page called BMW M5 Gift, with the same purpose and it has already attracted hundreds of people who in turn have invited 20,000 others. Once they got the first scam going, this could go on forever.

It’s amazing how easy it is to trick people into liking and sharing pages on social networks. We rarely take a minute to reflect on information that is shared by our friends, and that practice can be easily exploited. So in the future, think before you share.

Oh, and if I win, I would like a white BMW M5…

Update Nov 6: Both BMW pages and events are not gone from Facebook. But there are other similar scams that are still live, like this Audi R8 Giveaway. Also fake, of course.