Brainerd Area News

Tis The Season For Internet Scams

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Credit: Pixabay

The old saying goes, “If it’s too good to be true, it likely is.”  Costco and Aldi are not giving away free groceries on Facebook. Jayco is not giving away an RV. These are scams and by constantly sharing them you are putting your self and your friends at risk online. 

This weekend a two notable businesses were used in a “Like-Farming” Scam on Facebook. As I was doing my nightly doom-scrolling through social media, it seemed that every other person was sharing this contest from Aldi. The very next night it was Costco. Both were from brand new Facebook pages that were not the official company page. That’s a red flag for sure. Finally Costco and Aldi needed to post about the scam on their Facebook pages.

Then there was the RV contest that for the umpteenth time was won by a 15 year old in Baxter or Onamia and we had until Monday to like and share the link to win. This scam got so out of hand a few weeks ago, the RV company had to use the official page to alert people to the scam. Yet people will fall for this time and time again.

Most of these contest type scams are “Like-Farming.” According to Scopes:

“Like-farming on Facebook is a technique in which scammers create an eye-catching post designed to get many likes and shares. Posts often give people emotional reasons to click, like, and share, such as adorable animals, sick children, or political messages. For example, some posts claim that Facebook will donate money for every comment or share. As more people like and share the post, it appears in more news feeds, giving the post a much wider audience.”

So aside from these scams being annoying and seeing them come up in your news feed again and agian… What’s the harm? 

Scopes is tell us:

“As with many scams, like-farming has several different aims. When scammers ask you to “register” in order to win a free iPad or a free flight, this is a way to steal your personal information. Other versions can be more complex. Often, the post itself is initially harmless – albeit completely fictional. But when the scammer collects enough likes and shares, they will edit the post and add something malicious. That’s often a link to a website that downloads malware to your machine. Other times, once scammers reach their target number of likes, they strip the page’s original content and use it to promote spammy products. They may also resell the page on the black market. These buyers can use it to spam followers or harvest the information Facebook provides.”

So, before you like and share that new “too good to be true” Facebook contest. STOP! Search for the official Facebook page and see if the contest is there, or check the company website. If it’s not on their Facebook page or there is no mention of it, do not like and share. If you find that you have been unknowingly duped into risking your personal information, delete the post right away. Do not just leave it there for the next one of your friends that doesn’t read past the headline to further the success of these criminals.