Day 12 of avoiding Christmas scams – Social Media scams

Where do you start with scams on Social Media? You don’t have to look far on Social Media to find some sponsored ads or messages that are designed to hoodwink people and drive financial gain into the hands of the fraudsters and scam artists.

One common ploy used by scam artists is to pretend to represent a well-known brand who are desperate to give away stock or sell it off at cut price.

One instance we saw frequently during lockdown in 2020 was Facebook groups set up using the Argos brand. A typical example can be seen on the left where the brand is claiming to be giving away 50 damaged expensive items in exchange for sharing the post and liking the page. What harm is there in that?

Naturally, if you do that then the fraudsters will contact you to say you are one of the lucky 50 and they just need a few more details from you…oh, and the delivery fee. Naturally, by the time people realise they have been scammed, the Facebook pages no longer exist.

They can easily add credibility to their posts and pages by buying likes and even comments from companies that offer a story. The scam looks a lot more genuine if people are adding comments saying they have their items and they work perfectly.

There’s a number of warning signs that posts like the one on the left are not genuine. Firstly, the spelling and grammar is poor – “Returned” not “returned”, “Curved” not “curved”, “for a numerous reasons”, “fulling working” and “aloud” rather than “allowed”.

And then there is the fact as to why a major retailer such as Argos would be simply giving away stock – why wouldn’t they do that through their shops in the first place if they did had such items? My main issue with the photo used (the top one) is that worrying crack running along the floor to the left of the TVs rather than the damaged stock.

Unfortunately, it is far too easy for the scammers to set up these pages, cause damage and then move onto the next scam. Whilst the social media networks need to up their game in detecting and stopping brands being abused, social media users also need to heed the warning signs and stop simply handing over personal and financial details so willingly. If there is not demand, there will be no supply.

And that’s it for our 12 Days of Christmas Scams for another year. Let’s hope that in a year’s time we will be living and working in happier times and these posts can tell stories of how consumers have beaten the scammers and not vice-versa.

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