You’ve seen them before. Facebook posts designed to grab your attention and stop your scrolling. But think before you comment or “like” something on Facebook because it may be “like-farming” fraud.
“Like-farming” is when scammers create eye-catching posts designed to get many likes and shares. There are many versions. Some tug at your heartstrings, others tempt you with offers to win a new car or RV. Posts often give people emotional reasons to click, like, and share, such as adorable animals, sick children, the promise to win big, or political messages.
For example, a post advertising a free RV recently made the rounds on Facebook, using the pandemic to draw attention:
“With a lot of people out of work and Covid-19 keeping them out of work we know money is tighter more now than ever! So by 4 PM Monday someone who shares and also comments will be the new owner of this 2020 Jayco Greyhawk RV, paid off and ready to drive away, keys in hand – Jayco.”
“We are not running a giveaway for a 2020 Seneca or any other Jayco RV. We have taken the necessary steps to report the page(s) responsible for the misleading giveaways. If we ever do run any official Jayco sales event or giveaway, it will be promoted through our official Jayco company page. In addition, we would never ask for your personal information, under no circumstance should you provide your personal information to anyone.”
As with many scams, like-farming has several different aims. When scammers ask you to register in order to win something or claim an offer, 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 could add something malicious, such as 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.
- Use your good judgmest. If a post says you can win something just by sharing the post, it’s probably not true. If a post tugs at your heartstrings and isn’t about someone you know personally, be wary about the truthfulness of its contents.
- 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.
- Be cautious when it comes to sharing your personal information. Never give out personal information, such as your full name, telephone number, address, etc. to a person or company you don’t know or trust.
- Update your web browser and antivirus. Make sure you always have the latest version of your browser and antivirus. That way, if you do accidentally click on a scammer’s post, you will likely be warned that you are about to visit a suspicious site.
- Look for the blue checkmark. Many social media platforms verify pages from brands and celebrities so that users can decipher real pages versus copycats. Make sure you look for that trust mark before liking and sharing content.
By Kelvin Collins
President/CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving the Fall Line Corridor, Inc.