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Virgin Australia Like-Farming Scam

Facebook Page purporting to be an official Virgin Australia page claims that Facebook users who like and share a promotional image can win five tickets for a two-week trip to Sydney complete with $2000 spending money.

Like Farming Scam

© Roach

Brief Analysis
The Page is bogus and has no connection to Virgin Australia. There are no prizes and no winners. It is a typical like-farming scam designed to amass likes for the Page and trick people into further promoting it via shares and comments. Pages with high like numbers can be sold on the black market and/or used to launch ongoing spam and scam campaigns.

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Great news, we're giving away 5 tickets each to 50 people for a 2 week trip to Sydney Australia in a 5 star hotel with $2,000 spending money..

Want to win? Just Share & Like this photo!

Good luck, competition ends in 48 hours, winners will be messaged and announced on Facebook.

Virgin Australia Like-Farming Scam

Detailed Analysis

Yet another bogus Facebook Page is offering imaginary prizes as a means of enticing users to click like and share. In this case, the fake Page pretends to be connected to Virgin Australia and claims that those who like and share a promotional picture can win a two-week trip to Sydney complete with $2000 spending money.

Of course, the Page has no connection whatsoever to the real Virgin Australia and there are no prizes. The real Virgin Australia has confirmed via its Facebook Page that the giveaway page is not legitimate. 

The purpose of these bogus Pages is to amass large numbers of likes in as short a time as possible. By offering enticing prizes in exchange for liking and sharing, the scammers are able to effectively turn gullible participants into their personal marketing team. Because so many people share these bogus messages in the vain hope of winning a prize, such Pages can gain a great many likes as more and more people jump on board.

Pages with impressive like counts can later be used to perpetrate yet more spam and scam campaigns. Often, subsequent "prize draws" promoted via the bogus pages will involve participants in survey scams designed to trick them into divulging their personal information and subscribing to expensive SMS "services".  In some cases, the scammers may try to extract personal information and money from users by pretending that they have won the promised prize.

Popular Facebook Pages can also be sold on the black market to other unscrupulous marketers and repurposed to further the new owner's specific promotional goals. Like-Farming Pages like this one are becoming increasingly common and have targeted a number of major companies in recent months. Such Pages are often newly created and have no posts other than the bogus prize messages.

The scammers are able to create bogus pages with names almost identical to the genuine organizations by making minor changes to the Page name. For example, in this case, the scammers have simply placed a full-stop after the name "Virgin Australia" thereby changing the name just enough to allow them to create the Page. The fake Pages often include images stolen from the targeted company's genuine Page.

Be wary of any page that claims that you can receive an expensive prize just by liking and sharing a message. Do not further the nefarious goals of these fraudsters by participating in their utterly bogus promotions.

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Last updated: October 10, 2013
First published: October 10, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
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