Scam of the Week – Center Parcs Facebook Scam Dupes Thousands

December 6, 2018 9:01 am Geraldine Strawbridge Center Parcs Facebook Scam

The Police are urging social media users to beware of a new Facebook scam that claims to give away free holidays to Center Parcs.

A Facebook page created with the name ‘Center Parcs Longleat’ appears to offer a free holiday to 30 random people who share, like or comment on the post.

Over 29,000 people have already fallen for the scam and despite appearing entirely legitimate, it’s nothing more than a fake competition page set up specifically for the purpose of ‘Like-Farming’.

An increasing number of fake pages on Facebook are designed with the sole intention of increasing their popularity by tricking users into liking them. This practice is commonly known as ‘Like-Farming’.

The goal of these fraudsters is to increase the value of the Facebook page so it can be sold on the black market or used to distribute further scams. The more likes a page has, the more profitable it becomes.

Criminals can also use the scam to harvest user details, fill pages with spam, or it may be used as a delivery method for malware.

In this specific case, police believe the aim was to get enough likes from people, so they could be targeted with malicious malware to steal their personal information.

Image: Fake Center Parcs Facebook Page (source: The Independent)

Center Parcs Facebook Scam image

The Center Parcs scam used a picture of a man claiming to be Center Parcs CEO Mark Frendon holding golden envelopes. The real CEO of Center Parcs is a man named Mark Haak Wegmann, however the picture used on the fake page was randomly the designer of the envelopes for the Oscars. To trick users into falling for the scam, the fraudsters doctored the golden envelopes with the Center Parcs logo.

Criminals spend a lot of time making their scams seem as convincing as possible and often it can be hard to distinguish between a real competition page and a well-crafted fake.

To determine if the page you are on is legitimate or not, there are a number of steps you should follow:

  • Look for the blue tick – If you’re on the Facebook page of a legitimate business, it should have a blue tick which means it’s a verified account.
  • Check when the page was created – Look to see when the page was created, what information’s on it and how far back the posts go. If it’s only recently been created, chances are it’s a fake.
  • Google the company – Search for the company’s Facebook page on Google. The top listing should be the correct one – check it’s the same page that the original post was issued from and if there’s any mention of a competition. If not, it’s likely the page is fraudulent.
  • Check for terms and conditions – All competitions in the UK must have terms & conditions, and these must be easily accessible to all prospective entrants. If there are no T&C’s, suspicions should be raised.

 If you’re looking to start a phishing awareness campaign or would like more information on how to protect yourself online, contact us to find out how we can help.