This weekend I saw yet another Facebook scam circulating amongst my friends. This time the lure was an impressive looking Range Rover that was being given away!
I can see that this would be tough to resist. Hell, I’d love to win a shiny new ride, especially one as smart as this!
But the question I naturally ask myself is this: Who in their right minds would give away a car worth over £86,000 in return for a like and share of their Facebook page? What would they be looking to gain by doing this?
Let’s take a look at the explanation offered by the page:
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 2:00pm Monday someone who shares and also comments will be the new owner of this 2020 Range Rover Sport Autobiography, paid off and ready to drive away, keys in hand! - Range Rover.
Hmm… how very noble of them! Covid-19 has very much placed many people into a position of hardship. This would seem like a great time for a scam, and an even better time to prey on the vulnerable and desperate.
Maybe I just have a cynical mind, but I always look at these things and consider what the other party has to gain. After all, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is, as the saying goes. In this case, it almost certainly is too good to be true.
First of all, this page surely doesn’t belong to “Range Rover” as per the sign off from the post. The company is called Jaguar Land Rover, Range Rover is one of their brands. Wouldn’t they have signed off as “Land Rover”?
Then, consider that this is the only post on the page. Why would a successful company such as Jaguar Land Rover want to create a brand new page and build up a large following on that page when their official page already has over 16 Million followers?
Take a look at their logo too, they’ve not even taken the time to fit it properly within the profile picture space. Contrast this with the official page where it fits nicely.
Now let’s take another look at the content of the message again. Is the use of English consistent with what you’d expect from a multi-national company with millions to spend on marketing?
“we know money is tighter more now than ever!”
“paid off and ready to drive away, keys in hand!”
Maybe I am being pedantic, but neither of these two sentences feels to me like something a professional copywriter would produce.
Following The Trail
One of my friends who shared this was informed that they had in fact won! Unusually, this was done by way of a response to a shared copy of the post on their individual Facebook page. Wouldn't a company reach out via a direct message at this point?
Anyway, back to the win! This is great news for them I’m sure! But wait, there’s even more to be suspicious about now. Who’s told them they won? Well… "Range Rover 2020" apparently:
Only, as you can see above, this isn’t even the page that the “competition” was promoted on. This one is a personal profile, pretending to be the scam page!
What’s worse, they’re now asking you to visit a link, which is hidden behind a Tiny URL link (alarm bells should really be ringing by now) which eventually would take you here:
The page is obviously not anything at all to do with Jaguar Land Rover at this point, I'd hope that most people would at this point walk away! But what happens when you click on "Register Now"?
Good job you asked! Well, it takes you to a page (legitmate or otherwise, I don't know!) to sign you up for an online movies service. Whether this deception has at this point been to get you to sign up for a legitmate service paying the "crooks" a comission or if signing up for the "free movies" service would lead to worse down the line (think about whether you use the same email and password combo when you sign up for services, or being sent to download some dodgy software to play the movies and so on) well, lets just say, this was the point that I stopped following the trail.
So back to my original question. Why do people always fall for these scams? They're usually pretty easy to spot. Is it hope? Hope that they will win something which makes it worth the time involved?
Is it lack of understanding of what these crooks are up to?
Often when I point out that these pages are scams, I get told "Well it's worth a go isn't it?" or "Might as well, what have I got to lose?".
You might well have little to lose, but the fact is that just one of my friends that shared this very page directly caused seven of his friends to like and share it themselves. That should be reason enough not to get involved.
Feel free to comment below with your thoughts on this question.