Sheep! Sheeeep! If you’re anything like me, today your Facebook newsfeed is BLOWING UP with people sharing a boarding pass giveaway from a handful of obviously fake United Airlines Facebook pages. This is obviously fake and a scam that has nothing to do with United Airlines for a couple of reasons.
If you’ve seen it, I’m talking about the one that’s been shared 70,000+ times (and counting) from a Facebook community page, which is different from an actual Facebook business page:
The people like, sharing, and commenting on it probably don’t realize that they’re being taken advantage of for some sort of Facebook algorithm gaming scheme to scale the page quickly. By liking, sharing, and commenting, you’re causing the fake “contest” to show up in your friends’ Newsfeeds, causing the overall post reach to grow. It could it be a phishing or just general spam to grow the page by mimicking the brand. Honestly I don’t know. But I do know it looks super suspicious and very fake. Be careful if you did happen to share it and like the page.
Let’s start with the fact that it’s NOT from United’s official Facebook page, which has a nice blue check verifying the brand’s authenticity within Facebook as a legit brand Facebook page. As of this writing, this is what United’s REAL Facebook page looked like, blue check and all:
On United’s ACTUAL Facebook page, there is NO such contest mentioned. Any marketing professional would tell you that it’s very suspicious for a huge brand like United to set up another Facebook page to promote such a massive giveaway.
And also note how the imposter United Facebook page with the “contest” doesn’t have the blue check? Looks like a spammer/scammer just set it up in a whim:
Fake, fake, fake… So FAKE. It’s also worth noting that the fake page with the contest doesn’t have any old content beyond just the contests. And also, take note that the URLS within Facebook are pretty different too:
United official page: https://www.facebook.com/United
United fake imposter scary contest page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/United-Airlines/776022649187823?fref=ts
Now take a look at the contests. They’re not even consistent with each other in terms of language and what the actual prizes are. Also, the reason for the prizes isn’t even the same.
The page with the fake contest with 70,000+ shares also shared a contest to ANOTHER very suspicious looking imposter page. The contest looks like this:
And the page looks like this:
The other huge alarm bell is how the fake United page has changed the “official” story for the contest.I took this screenshot earlier today when it only had 14,000 shares. At the time, United said the giveaway was because of the recent announcement that with would be moving from JFK to Newark Airport in the NYC Metro region (this news is kinda true for NYC – California flights). That message has now been edited to something way more vague:
“We at United Airlines have reached our 7 month goal of 85 million customers and decided to giveaway 500 FREE First Class flights to any location too our loyal fans.”
And the even more vague
“We’re giving you the chance to win Airline Tickets for up to 5 people with a $5,000 give-away.”
But brands just don’t make rapid changes like this in the middle of a massive promotion. They scrutinize every communication decision and detail. And, most importantly, THEY’D PUT IT ON THEIR OFFICIAL FACEBOOK PAGE.
Sorry to let your hopes down if you liked, shared, and commented for an awesome, free giveaway. You’ve just been had by some Facebook spammer/scammer.
Don’t believe everything that pops on your newsfeed. Even if it is from you best friend in college who shared it.
Sometimes the Internet sucks.