A video promoting a Tiffany ring giveaway has gone viral. It’s fake, though. Here’s how I can tell.
Here’s how you, too, can spot a phony Facebook page
1. The name of the page is slightly off.
Scammers will set up phony pages using names very similar to the ones used by the official Facebook page. In this case, Macy’s became Macys.com. The scammers eliminated the apostrophe, and tacked on a “.com.” Macy’s brand is bigger than its website, so the likelihood that the official page would use the “.com” is pretty low. Watch for slight spelling, capitalization, or punctuation differences.
2. There is no blue check mark indicating the page is verified by Facebook.
In response to these scammers, a few years ago Facebook started to verify pages for entities, usually large companies or celebrities, who were most likely to have their pages copied or cloned. If you’re not sure if a page is real, start typing the name of the page into Facebook’s search bar, and look for the blue checkmark. Here’s what you might see:
3. The giveaway is too good to be true.
Macy’s giving away priceless Tiffany jewelry? An alleged news page giving away pickup trucks and expensive makeup? Not likely. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
4. The page was created recently.
As you can see in the right sidebar in the first image, the verified Macy’s Facebook page has a long history. The “Macys.com” page does not. And if you scroll to the bottom—trust me, it won’t take long—you’ll see that the page was created very recently (about 18 hours ago, in this case).
Why would anyone set up a phony Facebook page?
Scammers set up these pages for various nefarious reasons. Sometimes they build up their popularity—often getting milliosn of likes—only to sell the page to the highest bidder, who can then change the name of the page and do with it as they please.
Or they might be using the page to scrape your identifying details to sell to a third party. By liking, sharing and commenting on the fake page, users have outed themselves as gullible, saving the scammers a step and making their lives easier. And yours a bit more difficult.
Scammers are banking on the fact that you’re too busy, overwhelmed and distracted to notice the differences between the fake Facebook page and the real deal. Take an extra second to check the details, and don’t give the scammers what they want.