Brands and their followers are still victims of fake Facebook pages

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Virgin, Range Rover and Tesco are just some of the well-known brands who have found themselves the victims of fake promotions on Facebook as scammers offer spectacular prizes supposedly from the brands in return for gaining “Likes”.

The scammers believe these followers can be monetised through advertising or by gaining the entrant’s personal data, which on Facebook can contain a lot of valuable information, and then selling it on to unscrupulous users.

Brand owners and their agencies need to be on their guard, constantly searching for users of their brand name or similar – fake promotions are often run under variant names of the known brand, so  ‘McDonalds’ instead of McDonald’s’ or Land Rower, hoping no one will notice the difference. Here are some examples of how they manage to trick the public.

Trunki

The posts below look very similar but the one on the right is actually fake. It uses a bit.ly web link rather than a genuine brand site and has only a few hundred followers compared to the hundreds of thousands that the real one has which is a big clue, but often overlooked by consumers.

      

Primark

This Facebook page misspells Primark as Pirmark (amongst several other spelling mistakes) and offers a £50 coupon to everyone just for sharing a comment. Too good to be true, and it totally is – but that didn’t deter 5,000 people from Liking it.

PRimark Fake Facebook

Tesco

Do your homework ! Even though the post doesn’t pretend to from Tesco’s, the Tesco branding is very prominent and they are a bit behind the times, seeking to celebrate the launch of Tesco’s 30th store, when they have over 3,000. And is the prize £500 as in the headline or £650 as in the body copy !

Argos

This fake Argos promotion may look realistic but take note that it is from Argos UK rather than just Argos, and there is no blue tick beside the brand name. The link to a real Argos catalogue product is confusing too, but the fact that there are no T&Cs gives the game away.

But brand owners also need to be aware of fake entries from some of the estimated 81 million fake Facebook profiles that exist. Some may be have been created for the user’s pet dog, but most are pure fake and run by AI or Bots and can seriously interfere with the real worth of a promotion. . Facebook is seeking to eliminate fake accounts, just as it is doing so against Fake news but more emerge every day.

So, what can you do to protect your brand?

  1. Always include a link to the Terms and Conditions in every promotional post. This is not only a requirement of the CAP Code but it will immediately signal that a promotion is legitimate.
  2. Make use of your ubiquity. Communicate your promotion across all your social media and your official company website so that followers can tell that it is truly linked to your brand.
  3. Ensure your company page has been verified. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram let users know that a company page is verified by placing a blue tick badge next to their name. This indication of authenticity is only offered to well-known brands and public figures.
  4. Regularly check for fake versions of your brand and report them. Audit the web. All social media platforms want to wipe out fake users. Facebook have stated on their blog that they will act aggressively because: “…businesses and people who use our platform want real connections and results, not fakes.” So, run regular searches for your own company or brand name.
  5. Report it! Report a fake page to Facebook by clicking on the three dots (More menu) and then going to the Report page
  6. Stick to the rules yourself. By making sure that your promotion follows the rules of the social media platform and the CAP Code, or other national laws, then it will stand out as genuine and help to build trust in the promotion which will in turn build participation and entry numbers.

For help with planning and implementing safe and successful social media promotions contact us at info@promoveritas.com or call +44 203 325 6000.

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