Warning issued about suspicious social media adverts
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) today issued a warning about a series of prize competition adverts appearing on social media.
Particularly visible on the Facebook platform, the call for users to "like and share" the adverts claim to provide an opportunity to win prizes ranging from holidays and cars to shopping vouchers. Many of these adverts exist to expand the reach of the businesses connected to them; however, some have more nefarious purposes.
Some adverts contain links to unsecured websites which may infect your computer with malware or can link to sites set up to scam people out of money, while others collect personal information, including details used to secure banking accounts.
Katherine Hart, Lead Officer at CTSI, said: "I am concerned about the prevalence of adverts imploring users to like and share products and businesses. While many of the adverts are marketing a business or product, some are potentially dangerous.
"Users should check if the page hosting the advert is the official corporate page of the company in question. Verified businesses on Facebook have a tick mark next to the name of their business page - if it is missing this, it's probably not an official source.
"Another thing to consider is how much data users have put about themselves on social media over the past few years. While providing some personal details on one day may seem innocuous, over the years, this can build up to a full profile that fraudsters could use to steal identities.
"The general rule of scams applies - if it seems too good to be true, then don't do it. With millions of people furloughed and made redundant during the COVID-19 lockdown, I understand that many will be more open to the opportunity of winning a big prize, but please be aware of this and don't take the risk - it's not worth it."
If you think you've been scammed then report it to Action Fraud, or if in Scotland dial 101 and report it to Police Scotland. Advice and guidance on how to protect yourself, or your business, from fraud and cybercrime is available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus-fraud-and-cyber-crime.
Also, the public and businesses are encouraged to join Friends Against Scams and Businesses Against Scams, respectively. These initiatives aim to protect and prevent people and businesses from becoming scam victims by empowering them to take a stand against scams.
Notes for Editors:
CTSI Press Office: firstname.lastname@example.org, 01268 582240
Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI)
CTSI is a training and membership organisation that has represented the interests of the Trading Standards profession since 1881 nationally and internationally. We aim to raise the profile of the profession while working towards fairer, better informed and safer consumer and business communities. CTSI's members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities and in businesses. www.tradingstandards.uk