A fake Facebook promotion offering free first class flights on QANTAS for a year has seen over 100,000 people taken in. Accompanied by a picture of a First Class Lounge invitation and celebrating the 'fact' that QANTAS has seated "over 3 million people since 1 January, 2015" the post encourages users to like and share the photo to potentially win an incredibly generous prize.
In 2014 a similar number of Facebook users responded to a fake Jetstar promotion. While airlines are considered rich targets due to the valuable 'prizes' that can be offered, other organisations have suffered from this kind of scamming.
The payoff for the people behind this activity is in the data they can collect about users who like, share and promote the post. This information is then onsold to third parties as a form of "Like Farming".
There is also the potential for a users details to be held and used for identity fraud, which is an increasing concern with the proliferation of social media and the data held by social media providers.
Facebook has recently taken steps to crack down on fraudulent promotions, including the emergence of the 'blue tick' of authenticity, indicating a business page does in fact represent the business claimed. The other tell tale signs include a small number of likes (The fake page has 6,000 vs the 624,000 of the real page) and a short page history.
While there are a great many good deals to be found on social media platforms, users should always check that they are dealing with the actual business, and not an individual or group solely out to make a quick buck off an unsuspecting user.
QANTAS has released a statement on their (official) Facebook page reading;
"We're aware of this fake Facebook account. It is a scam and has nothing to do with Qantas. Facebook has been advised and are currently investigating.
Our campaigns are always run from our authenticated Facebook page (identified by its authorised blue tick), or through the official Qantas website."
You can see the fake, then real, QANTAS pages below. If you have liked and shared the post, make sure your privacy settings are up to date, and consider changing your password.
The fake QANTAS page
The real QANTAS page, with the authentication tick.