The unfortunate truth is that most of us know someone or have fallen victim ourselves to online social media scams. While most social media platforms say that impersonation is against their community guideless, so many fake accounts still exist online.

The Council Bluffs CVB’s Facebook page fell victim to this recently.  

We posted a giveaway on our Facebook account, and within a matter of hours, four fake accounts were created using our name, logo, photos, and information. All four pages posted their own version of our giveaway and sent out friend requests to our followers.

They contacted anyone who accepted the friend request or commented on their giveaway posts, telling them they won the contest. They told people that they needed to register on a third-party site to accept the gift cards and ultimately required credit card information.

Sometimes it is hard to determine if a page is fake or not. In our instance, our Facebook account is set up as a business page. Therefore, we are unable to send friend requests as standard profiles can. This was the first sign that something was not right. Business pages can only send follow requests to other profiles.

Our Facebook page has been around for many years. If you check out our page, you can scroll for days and days looking at our content. The new fake pages that were created only had a handful of posts on the page, and they were all published on the same day. This is another great indicator if a page is legitimate or not.

Whenever you aren't sure, it's always good to contact the business outside of social media to verify. A simple Google search will bring up businesses' contact information, and directly calling or emailing the company is a great way to get an answer.

We pride ourselves on being a very transparent and truthful brand. Please know that we will never ask any of our followers for personal or financial information under any circumstance. When we do giveaways, we will only request the winner to provide a mailing or email address to send the gift to. Furthermore, we will never send you to any third-party website or links to click.

All in all, this has been a good learning lesson for our brand, and we hope bringing this story to light helps you to spot and be aware of scams that happen on social media sites.

This post was originally published on June 11, 2021 on the Unleash Council Bluffs blog.