I am going to tell you about a brilliant scam that happened to me, the Winner of a blogger’s giveaway and +Evelyn Osborn from My Turn for Us, the Sponsor of the giveaway. We are sharing our experience with this scam to educate other bloggers on how it happened and how to prevent it from happening again.
A few bloggers teamed up to do a Round Robin Facebook Giveaway. A Round Robin giveaway is a giveaway on a blogger’s facebook page. The host announces the giveaway and directions on how to enter, mostly done by commenting on a their facebook post. In the announcement the host links to another blogger’s facebook page that is conducting another giveaway on their facebook page. The fans enter the giveaway and click on to the next blogger until the fan comes full circle and ends on the blogger’s facebook page they started with. I entered Evelyn’s giveaway by leaving a comment on her facebook post. Once the giveaway was over on the thread of comments she announced the winner and tagged me.
A person most likely on the thread of comments saw the winner announcement. Since my name was “tagged” this makes my name clickable to my profile. Even if I wasn’t tagged this person could have scrolled through the comments to find my name and profile. My personal profile is private but profile pictures and cover photos are public. This person clicked on my 2 photos and saved them. Created a new facebook account with my exact name and my 2 photos. Even further this person created an email address with my name and submitted it to Evelyn to send the prize. Creating an email address and a facebook profile takes less than 10 minutes to accomplish. The prize value was $25.00. This person made $25.00 in less than 10 minutes.
How we figured it out.
I saw that I had won that evening and emailed Evelyn. We started chatting about blogging related topics and I asked when to expect the prize so it wouldn’t get lost in a spam folder. She sent me an email address with my name but I had never seen it before. I asked her where she got that email address. She sent me a screen shot of the conversation she had with “me”on facebook. Evelyn had been scammed. I asked her if the profile link was still clickable and to send me the link. There I sat staring at my profile picture and my cover photo of my two kids. I felt so violated and was angry because they used my pictures and scammed a blogger that I adore!
The fake profile had a time stamp that it joined facebook minutes after Evelyn announced the winner.
What we did about it.
I reported the fake profile to facebook and it was taken down in less than an hour. I told Evelyn not to send me a prize. I am a blogger too and it shouldn’t cost her double, but because she is so awesome she insisted that I was the winner and sent me the prize anyway. So for that be sure to like Evelyn’s facebook page for me!
How to prevent this scam and protect your fans.
I think these round robin giveaways are great and this post shouldn’t scare you away from entering or hosting one. Here are some tips on how to announce a winner.
1. Don’t comment and don’t tag the winner.
2. Notify the winner by replying to their comment. They will receive notification of your reply to their comment instead of the whole thread of commenters receiving the notification
3. Once the winner has claimed the prize don’t leave your fans hanging. Comment on the thread letting your fans know that the winner has been notified and prize has been claimed.
4. Emailing the winner from your personal facebook account will put your message in there “Other” inbox. Most facebook user don’t even know there is an “Other” inbox. It isn’t accessible through mobile and the user doesn’t receive an alert when they get a message in their “Other” inbox.
5. Click on their profile. When I clicked on the fake profile. There was nothing. On the timeline there was where they updated their cover photo and profile picture. No “recent activity”, “likes”, or “worked at” absolutely nothing.
If you have suggestions on more ways to prevent this scam or have questions about our experience please comment below!
Please share this post with other bloggers and let’s get the word out about this scam!
Stephanie & Evelyn