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Bogus 'Free Items for Participating' Facebook Events

Outline
Numerous Events being promoted on Facebook claim that users who agree to attend and invite all of their friends will receive free shirts, shoes, iPhones or a host of other items.



Brief Analysis
The claims in these Event promotions are false. Those who participate as instructed will NOT receive the free item as claimed. The promotions are designed to artificially inflate Facebook Group or Page numbers, advertise third party websites, or trick users into participating in survey scams.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.

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Last updated: 5th August 2011
First published: 5th August 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
The first 1 000 000 participants Will Get the new Facebook/Twitter Shoes

Facebook/Twitter Shoes spam


The first 500,000 participants Will Get An iPhone 4 for Free

iPhoone giveaway spam


1st 5,000 participants - Get absolutely FREE facebook shirt

FAcebook free shirt spam


The first 70,000 participants will get to test and keep the new iPad2

IPAd test and Keep scam





Detailed Analysis
Facebook walls around the planet have lately been plastered with numerous Facebook Event promotions that promise users free items in exchange for their participation. Typically, the promotions claim that a specified number of people - such as the first 1 million participants - will be eligible to receive one of the free items. The products promoted in these events include various items of clothing such as Facebook T-Shirts or Hoodies, Facebook Caps, Facebook or Twitter shoes, or high-tech devices such as iPhones or iPads.

Those who follow the Event links are presented with a list of instructions. Typically, participants are instructed to first click the "I'm Attending" button and then invite all of their friends to the event. Most suggest that participants copy and paste a snippet of JavaScript into their browser address bar in order to easily select all of their friends when sending the event invitation. They are also instructed to follow a link and "Like" a specified Facebook Page. In some cases, they may also be instructed to follow a link and subscribe to a third party service such as a YouTube channel. Participants are advised that they MUST follow all of these instructions or they will not receive their free item.

However, regardless of how carefully participants follow these instructions, they will never receive the promised free item. All of these events are bogus. The motivations behind these Event promotions vary.

The more sinister variants of the scheme are in fact survey scams designed to fool users into submitting their personal information on dubious third party websites. At some point in the process, participants are told that they must take the further step of "verifying" that they are people rather than computer programs by filling in a survey or playing an online game. Information entered on these dubious websites may be used to send participants further marketing material or subscribe them to extremely expensive mobile phone SMS services. Each time a user completes one of these surveys, the scammer who created the bogus Event will earn a commission via an affiliate marketing scheme.

Other free item Events are apparently rather lame and highly unethical attempts to promote a particular entity such as a band or a clothing outlet. The Event Pages funnel users to Facebook Pages, YouTube Channels or other subscription based websites designed to promote the entity.

And, some, even lamer and more inane versions of these bogus Events have been created for no other reason than to artificially inflate the number of "Likes" the featured Facebook Page receives. If one of these Event promotions appears on your Facebook wall, do not follow any links that it contains. Regardless of the motivation behind the event, you will NOT receive the promised free item. Any entity that users such unethical tactics to promote itself does not deserve your attention.

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Last updated: 5th August 2011
First published: 5th August 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer