If you spend your holiday break looking at social media, you'll likely see posts that promise to give away prizes and it's easy to get enter.  Be careful, it could be a scam.

The posts in question claim that all you need to do to enter to win the prize is "like", share, or comment on the post. The Better Business Bureau says that this type of scam is called "like-farming".

Ultimately there is no prize to give away and once scammers collect enough "likes" and shares, they will edit the post and add something malicious, such as a link to malware.  They may also change to the original content of the page and use all the "likes" to try to sell products of poor quality.

There are legitimate giveaways that happen through social media, so make sure you do your due diligence before you enter.  The Better Business Bureau offers these tips to help:

  • Look for the blue checkmark. Many social media platforms verify pages from brands and celebrities so that users can tell real pages from copycats. Make sure you look for that trust mark before liking and sharing content.
  • Watch out for new accounts: If you think a giveaway is real, click on the business or celebrity’s profile. If it’s a new account with very little other content, that’s a big red flag.
  • Look out for spelling errors and typos: Real brands use giveaways to promote their company. Spelling errors and typos will make them look bad! They are a big warning signs of a scam.
  • The giveaway asks you to complete too many tasks: If a giveaway asks you to comment on multiple posts, follow several accounts, and tag a couple of brands, it becomes almost impossible to keep track of everyone participating and pick a winner at random (as required by law).
  • There are no terms and conditions. Online giveaways should include contact details of the organizer, how to take part, how the winner will be selected, and eligibility requirements. If you don’t see information, that’s an instant red flag.
  • Don’t click “like” on every post in your feed. Scammers are counting on getting as many mindless likes as possible, so be sure you only “like” posts and articles that are legitimate. Don’t help scammers spread their con.
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