Yesterday saw a Qantas-themed Facebook Scam go extremely viral, racking up more than 100,000 likes in a very short space of time. Why did it work? Greed.
There's really nothing new in the world of social scams, and yesterday's example was just another twist on a classic formula. Promise a big prize from a big name and reputable vendor, whack some simple "rules" in place (typically just liking and sharing, thus ensuring the virality of the scam), lather, rinse, repeat.
We've seen it before with everything from "Samsung" giving away smartphones to "Sony" giving away PS4s, and every time it's just a litany of under-delivered promises that were always fake and people "wanting to believe" that the scam is real. It's a basic appeal to greed, in other words.
In the Qantas case, it really did stretch credulity, with the promise of "A year of free first class flights" on offer. Considering the value of the prize, you'd see advertising for that kind of competition absolutely everywhere and for months, not just as a once-off on Facebook alone.
If you're curious, we've also covered off the anatomy of these scams, not so you can set one up yourself, but so you're well aware of how they operate and can avoid them. Equally, because it always seems to come up in relation to these scams, some people share them figuring they're probably dodgy, "but it can't hurt and I might win".
That's not entirely true, even for a like-harvesting operation, because it could well hurt others depending on the endgame of the scam, and in any case, if nothing else, do you really want your friends constantly thinking you're daft enough to fall for scams?
It doesn't mean that nobody runs legitimate competitions on Facebook. But do your research, because it doesn't take much to work out that these scams are incredibly flimsy.