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By the Better Business Bureau
You’ve seen them before: Facebook posts designed to grab your attention and stop your scrolling. There are many versions. Some tug at your heartstrings, others tempt you with offers to win a new car or RV.
A post advertising a free RV was recently making the rounds on Facebook, using the pandemic to draw attention: “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 4 PM Monday someone who shares and also comments will be the new owner of this 2020 Jayco Greyhawk RV, paid off and ready to drive away, keys in hand – Jayco."
The actual company, Jayco, a BBB Accredited Business, has responded on Facebook, saying, "We are not running a giveaway for a 2020 Seneca or any other Jayco RV. We have taken the necessary steps to report the page(s) responsible for the misleading giveaways. If we ever do run any official Jayco sales event or giveaway, it will be promoted through our official Jayco company page. In addition, we would never ask for your personal information, under no circumstance should you provide your personal information to anyone."
Unfortunately, many of these posts are created by scammers, striving to collect as many Facebook “likes” as possible.
What Exactly is ‘Like-Farming’?
“Like-farming” on Facebook is a technique in which scammers create an eye-catching post designed to get many “likes” and shares. Posts often give people emotional reasons to click, “like” and share, such as adorable animals, sick children, the promise to win big, or political messages.
Why Do Scammers ‘Farm’ for ‘Likes’?
As with many scams, “like-farming” has several different aims. When scammers ask you to “register” in order to win something or claim an offer, this is a way to steal your personal information. Other versions can be more complex. Often, the post itself is initially harmless – albeit completely fictional. But when the scammer collects enough “likes” and shares, they will edit the post and could add something malicious, such as a link to a website that downloads malware to your machine.
Other times, once scammers reach their target number of “likes,” they strip the page’s original content and use it to promote spammy products. They may also resell the page on the black market. These buyers can use it to spam followers or harvest the information Facebook provides.
Protect Yourself From Like-Farming With These Tips
√ Use your good judgment. If a post says you can win something just by sharing the post, it’s probably not true. If a post tugs at your heartstrings and isn’t about someone you know personally, be wary about the truthfulness of its contents.
√ Don’t click “like” on every post in your feed. Scammers are counting on getting as many mindless likes as possible, so be sure you only “like” posts and articles that are legitimate. Don’t help scammers spread their con.
√ Be cautious when it comes to sharing your personal information. Never give out personal information, such as your full name, telephone number, address, etc., to a person or company you don’t know or trust.
√ Update your web browser. Make sure you always have the latest version of your browser. That way, if you do accidentally click on a scammer’s post, your browser will be more likely to warn you about suspicious sites.
Don't forget, you can report these scams to BBB's Scam Tracker.