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Free Trip? Sign Me Up!

Think that offer you see for free tickets or a free vacation is too good to be true? It’s a safe bet it is! Have you seen some sort of giveaway like these examples?

I’ve seen lots share the “win Disney tickets” or “win a free Disney cruise” posts over the years. I know it’s tempting, but while Disney does offer sweepstakes giveaways, they don’t operate them in a “like & share this post” manner to enter to win. Legitimate sweepstakes for many large businesses will be hosted on a specific web page and you can review the rules of the sweepstakes prior to entering. The fake accounts that offer these giveaways often look like a real page as they steal photos, logos, and other graphics to appear they are the real page. They may even pay for fake ads or operate quizzes to get likes on their page. So, what’s the harm?

Why shouldn’t I share the post? It can’t hurt, right?

These scam pages typically do NOT award a prize, but you’ve just given them your personal information for nothing. And that’s the purpose. Some of these fake pages are set up to mine your social media data! They may collect any public data available off your account; do you want some of your personal details out there? You may also unknowingly open access to other accounts or your friends list. You could even have your profile hijacked or cloned! You may also open your device up to malware.

What are some red flags?

  • What does the spelling or grammar on the posts look like?

  • Is the post asking for money? Or personal information to enter?

  • Was the page founded recently?

  • Is there a low number of followers?

  • Do the posts not seem to fit the company’s brand or reputation?

  • Is the page “verified?” Facebook has used a blue checkmark to indicate a verified and authentic brand or company, but not all pages are set up with this.

  • Is the name of the company/business slightly off? For example, is the page title “DisneyWorld” vs “Walt Disney World? Or “Disney Cruise” vs “Disney Cruise Line?”

Tips to be safe online when it comes to giveaways

  • Check the company’s website and follow the link for their social media accounts. Is this the page that is sharing the giveaway?

  • If something seems to good to be true, trust your gut. Pages offering very enticing prizes are usually doing what they can to get the “like and share” to misuse your data.

  • When it comes to granting third party permissions with your social media accounts, read the permissions and be cautious! By allowing permission access to your account, you can compromise your personal data and accounts.

  • Never give out personal information, such as banking info, to enter to win a contest or send money to receive a prize!

Please consider what you’re liking and sharing when it comes to giveaways. We all love free stuff, but sometimes the prize is simply too good to be true. Be safe out there on the interwebs, friends!




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