Don't be caught out by like farming scams like this

Alert message sent 19/06/2020 17:27:00

Information sent on behalf of Leicestershire Police


Don't be caught out by social media like farming scams!

Why are they potentially dangerous?

Most of these scams work by like-farming. That means their sole purpose is to gather information about you.

"Like-farming” is a common technique where scammers create eye-catching posts (such as high value giveaways!) that are designed to get as many likes and shares as possible.

Posts sometimes give people emotional reasons to like and share, such as cute animals, sick babies/children, and of course the irresistible promise to win very expensive prizes.

There are a number of reasons as to why scammers do this.

Most obviously, when scammers ask you to “register” your details in order to ‘win’ or claim a special offer, this quite simply, is an easy way to harvest your personal details and passwords.

Sometimes it can be more complex. The original post itself may initially be harmless, possibly fictional. Once the scammer has collected enough likes and shares, the will post is edited and they could add add something malicious, e.g. a link to a website that downloads malware to your device.

Or once they’ve reached their target number of likes, they can strip the page’s original content and go on to use it to promote spam products.

There is the added bonus that they can resell the page on the black market where other scammers can buy it and go on to spam followers or harvest the information Facebook ‘legitimately’ provides. Ever found yourself following a page you have no memory of following to begin with?

How do I protect myself from ‘like-farming’?

- Be critical of what you see online! If the post says you can win something just by liking and sharing the post, consider its value! Lots of businesses do giveaways to genuinely build their social media, but not many can afford to give away £60K car or motorhome.

- Is the page claiming to be a company you recognise but they have no blue tick? Check their website - most reputable companies will have links to their social media accounts.

- Look when the page was created - was it only a week ago, was it this morning but still giving away a huge prize?

- What are the previous posts? Are there any? Do they look legitimate?

- Look for common language of these scams claiming the last winner was ineligible either for being underage or not able to claim the prize for any reason as well as sob stories or posts that tug at your heartstrings “I bet I won’t get one like” or “one share for a prayer” etc.

- Be VERY careful when it comes to sharing your personal information. Never give out personal information, such as your full name, email, passwords, telephone number, address, etc. to a person or company you don’t know or trust, be it online or offline!

- As a good rule of thumb - if it's too good to be true, it usually is.

- Finally – Make sure you are “Up to date”

Make sure you always have the latest version of your browser, your device operating software AND your apps!

At least if you do then inadvertently click on a scam post, your browser is more likely to warn you about potentially suspect sites.

Thanks for reading.
Message sent by
Jake Spruce (Police, PCSO, Melton and Rutland NPA)
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