It happens to the best of us. We get overwhelmed with everything on social media and we miss those dreaded problem sites. Those moments a friend or family member shares or likes a posting on Facebook from companies that are just using it to spam their friends! I recently was talking to a couple of family members about when to click and when not to and they had no clue about some of the basic tell-tale signs so I thought I would take the time to help educate everyone. Will this stop all of the SPAM? No, not at all. Will it help? YES!!!! Please do some due diligence before you start clicking and liking pages on Facebook. This first tutorial is focused on those amazing giveaways that everyone wants to win.
Here are a couple of steps to keep you and your friends from getting hacked or SPAM.
Step 1. LOOK at the offer. I mean, REALLY look at the offer. If it seems like it is an amazing offer that a company has NEVER given away before…..chances are, it’s going to be easy to spot the tell-tale signs of a fake. You should already be on alert that there may be a problem with it.
Step 2. Click on the business name that is attached to the item being shared. It should take you to their business page or group page. This is where a lot of information is found. Do not go by the number of “likes” a business has because many people are duped. They believe that if their friend shared it, it must be reputable. NOT TRUE!!!! Once you are on that page, take a look at it. Is it a company you are familiar with? For the sake of this blog, I am using a giveaway that was posted for Southwest Airline. They are a large company that many people are familiar with. The first thing to look for is the spelling of the business. The actual spelling is Southwest Airlines (notice the s is missing from Airlines). Large corporations aren’t going to spell their business name wrong. The next thing to look for with a large corporation is a blue and white check mark after their name. That check mark means Facebook (and twitter) have done the work for you and verified that it is the legitimate company. I have included some samples for you to see the difference. Those two things right there will have you stopping the “share” before more people are affected.
Let’s talk about the smaller companies….the ones that Facebook hasn’t deemed big enough to verify. The first thing you want to look at is when was their Facebook page started? How many other posts are on the page? If that particular give-away is their ONLY post (even if it’s multiple times) then it probably isn’t a valid company. For example, I saw a couple of friends share a Camaro give-away from a smaller company. When I went to that site, the only posts were about that give-away and nothing else. The page had just been started in 2014. Chances are, a company that just entered into the world of social media doesn’t have the capital to give-away a $20,000+ prize. You can find all of their posts if you scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on “More posts”. Most companies doing a large give-away have been on Facebook for a few years.
Step 3. If you have done the following steps and you still aren’t sure if it the real thing…..go into the search box of Facebook and type in the company that you believe is doing the give-away. Find the one that has the verification mark next to it and go to their page. If there is no mention of the give-away, then it isn’t happening!
Another one that is shared a lot is Walt Disney Corporation. Here is an example of all of their verified entities and the fake ones
Step 4. IGNORE THE TEMPTATION TO SHARE BAD GIVEAWAYS!!!!! It’s that simple. You will help cut down on the dangerous SPAM emails that you and your friends receive that could potentially give your computer a virus or allow someone to hack into your Facebook to get detailed information on you.
Just taking a few extra seconds and paying attention to some small details will help keep your Facebook perusal safe and fun!