Scam artists are using fake Facebook pages to confuse your prospective customers and cheat them out of their money.
These swindlers are either creating fake Facebook pages that look identical to yours or they are hijacking your page to commit fraud. As an example, they use your page to “re-sell” non-existent tickets to your show, taking somebody’s money in the process. In some cases, they are using the Facebook page of event organizers or their own fake page to get viewers to pay for a non-existent livestream event.
“These problems have become both commonplace and enormously disruptive in just the last few weeks,” says Adam Glowaski, ICAS Director of Marketing and Communications. “If you are an event organizer, they deserve your immediate attention…even if you have not yet been attacked.”
We reported in a previous issue of Fast Facts that your best option is to report these crooks to Facebook when you find them. And you should. But Facebook is a large company that moves at the speed of bureaucracy.
And, according to Corey Hill, a social media consultant with Altitude Social Media, there are pro-active things your organization can do to combat these social media-based assaults. Hill and his colleagues have developed a list of eight different strategies for dealing with this recent, but pervasive problem of fake Facebook pages and events.
- Decline co-host requests. If you don’t want scam artists in your house, say no to them when they knock on your front door. Fake Facebook pages will often send you requests to become a co-host of their fake event. If you say yes, you enable and empower the cheats. Make sure that everyone with administrative access to your page knows to decline all of these requests. If a co-host request gets accepted by somebody on your team, this will legitimize the fake event and put your page followers and event responders at risk of being scammed or hacked. Diligence and attention to detail are key here since these requests can often get mixed in with all your other page notifications.
- Ensure everybody with even modest administrative privileges on your Facebook page uses 2 Factor Authentication. The scam artists will often gain access to your Facebook page’s administrative functions through a legitimate member of your team with insufficient security on their personal Facebook page. Requiring everybody with access to your page to use 2 Factor Authentication (2FA) will help with this problem. 2FA is a Facebook security feature that all of your page users (Admins, Advertisers, Publishers, etc.) need to have turned on for their personal Facebook profile. Click here to learn how to turn on Facebook’s 2FA function.
- Moderate posts on your event. In your Facebook event settings, make sure you select "Posts must be approved by a host or co-host." This will allow you or someone else on your team to review and approve every post before it becomes visible to the public. Having this setting turned on will allow you to catch any ticket scammer posts before your customers and prospective customers ever see them. If you see a scam post during this review process, choose the option to "Delete Post and Remove Author." Make sure everybody who might be asked to review a post knows that this is often the entry point for scammers.
- Add credibility to your event – and detract from the credibility of potential scam artists -- by increasing your “event responses.” These criminals rely on creating doubt among your customers and prospective customers about which page is the genuine air show Facebook page and which is not. Anything you can do to make it clearer which Facebook page or event is real and which Facebook page or event is fake will help you scare away the cheats. If someone sees your event has 10,000 event responses, they're going to think it's much more credible than a scammer event that has 27 event responses. Use the Ads Manager feature on Facebook to run an event response campaign and rack up the event responses on your event. In addition to discouraging and warding off prospective internet scammers, it will also have the added benefit of jump starting your social media promotional campaign, giving you a pool of likely prospects to receive your ticket promotion messages.
- Add credibility to your page by increasing your page following. Similar to #4, but with your Facebook page rather than your Facebook event. The more that you can signal to prospective customers that you are clearly the real thing, the harder it is for scam artists to compete for that designation. And nothing makes that clearer than a strong following on your Facebook page. Again, using Facebook’s Ads Manager tool, you can grow the following of your page by thousands of engaged users, without spending much. A page that has tens of thousands of page likes will look a lot more legitimate in the eyes of Facebook users than a page with very few. Plus, you have now spent time and money building a cadre of potential customers.
- Add and then frequently repeat "Do not buy resale tickets" messages on your Facebook page and your Facebook event page. This “re-sell” scam is one way that these criminals use your site against you…by offering non-existent tickets for re-sale to your prospective customers. In your Facebook event description, add some messaging conveying that people should not buy tickets from resellers on Facebook. This is so that your potential customers will be wary of anyone trying to sell tickets in the comments of your posts.
- Get your page verified. Going through the Facebook verification process gives your page a blue checkmark, which indicates to users that Facebook has validated your page as the authentic page for your business. Here is the form to get the verification process started. Here is a more detailed explanation of what Facebook verification is, how it works and what it means.
- Report fake pages and profiles. While the first seven strategies should cover all your bases, if there is a fake page or profile that is giving you trouble, report them to Facebook.
Many thanks to Corey Hill and his colleagues at Altitude Social media for sharing these tips and suggestions with the ICAS membership.