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.

Abercrombie & Fitch and Espresso House also hijacked on Instagram

Yesterday I blogged about how SAS, Emirates and SF got their brands hijacked on Instagram. Today I found two new examples of fake accounts that promise to give away gift cards in exchange for email addresses. Hundreds of Swedish Instagram users are currently giving away both email addresses and even mobile numbers on the fake accounts of Abercrombie & Fitch and coffee chain Espresso House.

Fake Abercrombie & Fitch at http://instagram.com/abercrombiesverige. The account bio says: “We are soon opening a store in Sweden! Follow the instructions in the image to get unique offers and gift cards”. The image caption says that the company will give a gift card worth 1,000 SEK to all followers of the account if they add their email address in the comments.

abercrombie instagram

Fake Espresso House at http://instagram.com/espressohouseofficiell. The account bio says: “The first 5,000 that follow and share this account will get a gift card of 100 SEK at Espresso House”.

espresso house instagram

 

Generous Danish Lotto millionaire on Facebook is fake

Ok folks, it is time to apply some critical thinking to social media. As I blogged about yesterday, it is incredibly easy to trick thousands of people to like a fake account and even post their email addresses publicly on Instagram. Today I found another example on Facebook that was posted yesterday evening.

A Danish guy says he won 23.5 million Danish kroner on Lotto and that he will choose two people who like his picture who he will give 75,000 DKK. The problem, it is fake.

danish-lotto-winner It took me about 30 seconds to search for the facts on Google. A Danish newspaper wrote about it this morning. According to a representative at Danske Spil, the company behind the Danish Lotto, the coupon in the picture is from February and that no such large prizes were awarded during February. The person in the photo is not a Lotto winner.

The image has been shared 62,000 times since last evening.

Once again, take a second or two to double check if the image you are about to share is fake or not. It might save you some embarrasement.

IKEA victim of Facebook hoax

ikeagiftcard

A while back, more than 200,000 Swedes were fooled to join a Facebook group that promised to donate 2 SEK per fan to the victims of the Haiti earth quake. Only problem was that once the group reached the goal, it changed name and added some really outrageous content. I was somewhat amazed that all these people didn’t see through that scam because when something seems too good to be true, it often is.

The latest scam is a Facebook campaign by IKEA that promises to give you a 1,000 USD gift card if you became a fan of the Swedish company. Of course, this is not really a campaign that is really run by IKEA. If you have any knowledge of the IKEA culture I’m convinced that you would agree that IKEA would never give money away in a stunt like this.

IKEA spokesperson Mona Astra Liss says the “false offer” is not some half-baked publicity stunt by IKEA. “It’s absolutely not a publicity stunt and absolutely not endorsed by IKEA,” she says. She adds that Facebook performs closed investigations of scams, so IKEA doesn’t know who’s behind the hoax.

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“Elite designers against IKEA” – an IKEA hoax

Swedish furniture giant IKEA is the target of this campaign from “Elite designers against IKEA” who portray IKEA as the source of all evil design. The designer Van den Puup writes:

“We design profound and beautiful furniture for those with wealth and taste. Which is why IKEA makes us furious livid and angry. Do their designs live, breathe and growl? Are they born from tears of pain? Do they gently touch the bottom of the human soul? Pah! Of course not, no more than weeds can attract a bee. The big blue place is odious, its affordable design is sickeningly shallow and we loathe it even more than we loathe football. Please join us in our unqualified hatred.”

Or at least that is what we are supposed to believe. From what I can tell, this seems to be a marketing stunt by IKEA’s Danish advertising agency Robert/Boisen & Like Minded. The domain elitedesigners.org is registered by Michael Robert at Robert/Boisen & Like Minded and on the ad agency’s own web site, IKEA is listed as one of the clients. The agency has launched other web sites for IKEA, like IKEA-fans.dk with an amateurish look, complete with rotating gifs and dreadful design to look as non-corporate as possible.

Clever and fun you guys. Maybe this will start some buzz about IKEA. I’ve done my part.

UPDATE: It seems that this is part of an ad campaign in the UK with three tv commercials and print ads on the theme “At home with Van den Puup”. Seems like a cool campaign, but since web sites have global reach we who don’t see the rest of the campaign might not get the message.