Slam. Bam. Thank You… %&# Scam!
What comes to mind when you think about fraud or scams in advertising?
Maybe a restaurant advertising a huge delicious burger but the reality is a thin shadow of its Instagram self.
Maybe someone advertising a PS5 for sale on Facebook that the turns out to be a PS5 box with three big stones instead of a console and controllers.
All these are quite real. But what we’ve noticed recently, is a new level of sophistication, speed and technology in terms of imitating companies and even the advertising agencies who act on their behalf in the online world.
Launch a social media promotion in the morning, and by the afternoon a fake company profile or page and fake page admin are engaging you and phishing for your personal details, financial or credit card information.
Human nature being what it is, sometimes the thrill of a quick win can cause people to do what they wouldn’t ordinarily do. So here are a few tips to keep in mind when looking for the win online.
1. Check if it’s the REAL company Verify the message is coming from THE legitimate social media page, company website or email address. Fraudsters can easily create a lookalike Facebook page, website or ‘official-looking’ email. They’ll even post comments on your comment with a lookalike company name. Do be watchful and keep a close eye that you are communicating with the genuine company.
2. Stay far from odd requests Why would a company ask for your credit card information to give you a prize? You’ve been sent a private message that you’re a winner but you’re asked to meet someone at an arbitrary location? If the request to enter a promo or collect a prize sounds strange, it probably is.
3. Check the rules You’ve entered a contest and the rules say “winners will be announced on the page by such and such date”, or “contacted by phone” but you’re getting a private message asking you to send an email with all sorts of personal information. The rule to remember when this happens is to stay far!
4. Careful of those links “You’re a winner! Click this link.” That could be a link to grief. Asking a winner to click a link is highly unlikely. Again be watchful and mindful.
Still uncomfortable and want to verify? Find the legitimate company phone number or email address and ask a question.
Coming into the Christmas season expect to see more promotions and contests as many companies take part in the traditional promotion festivities. And while many are genuine, fun and do provide legitimate prizes, do be mindful and avoid getting %&# by a scam.
Heard of any new types of advertising scams yourself? Let us know.