One example of a scam post advertising a free RV recently made the rounds on Facebook, using the pandemic to draw attention.
With pictures of an RV, the Facebook post stated, "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 p.m. 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."
The actual company, Jayco, responded on Facebook, saying, "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."
The Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina warns this scam is known as social media "like-farming". There are many different versions, sometimes the posts offer free airline tickets or gift cards.
The goal for scammer's when it comes to social media like farming is to get you to "register" to win something or claim an offer, this is a way to steal your personal information. Other versions can be more complex. The BBB says this happens 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 device.
Alyssa Parker with the BBB says to protect yourself she suggests you take the time to see who is behind each post you spot on social media, especially if it involves a giveaway. Parker adds, "If it's a legitimate organization or they have a legitimate social or brand page it will have the blue checkmark, if it does not its most likely a scam and we urge people to stay away from that."
Here are more tips from the BBB to protect yourself:
- Use your good judgment. 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. Make sure you always have the latest version of your browser. That way, if you do accidentally click on a scammer's post, your browser will be more likely to warn you about suspicious sites.