Scammers are as aware as all the rest of us that many are feeling the financial stress of the pandemic’s economic devastation. They are constantly inventing new schemes designed to appeal to those who have been laid off or otherwise negatively impacted amidst the crisis.
But your Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns that sometimes these bottom-feeders simply dust off an old scam and repurpose it. Such is the case with the current RV giveaways making the rounds on Facebook and other social media platforms.
BBB is warning anyone tempted by the new version of the RV giveaway: Don’t "like" the post; don’t share the post; don’t comment on the post. As much as it sounds like an opportunity to potentially get a huge payoff with minimum effort and no expenditure on your part, it’s just another case of something that sounds too good to be true actually turning out to be too good to be true.
What to watch for
There are several versions of the RV giveaway post circulating. One of the more popular ones claims to be from Jayco. It reads: "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."
Jayco, a BBB-accredited business, said "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". Other RV companies have also reported no affiliations to social media giveaways that are using their company name.
What are they up to?
The goal is collecting people’s personal information. They aren’t giving anything away. They are wanting to get personal info from you. The process is called "like farming." The goal is to get more engagement for their posts which causes such posts to rise in the social media platform’s algorithm, getting it seen by increasing numbers of viewers. Clicking on such posts could result in having your profile hijacked, collection of your personal info such as birthdate and email address, exposure of your friends’ lists and exposure to malware being installed onto your device.
Do this instead
BBB advises anyone tempted by social media giveaways to:
• Do not click on any links in the post. If you want to know if the giveaway is legitimate, search for and go to the company’s website and their social media page. If they really are giving something away in such a high-profile way, they will mention it on their pages.
• Think about the economics of the giveaway. Could a company really afford to give a product worth (in some cases) a quarter of a million dollars? If it sounds too good to be true, you know what that means.
• Never give out personal information to strangers. If a page or an "offer" requires such info, simply click away from it and forget about it.
• 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.
If you need answers to other questions regarding social media giveaways, offers or contests, contact BBB at (800) 856-2417 or visit bbb.org.