Catfished! How to spot a fake brand page

Catfishing… It’s not just a great weekend pastime – baiting the hook, catching the fish, it’s also a fantastic MTV Show and is used to describe people when they aren’t being 100% true to who they are online.

People can be whoever they want to be online… Fake names, fake photos and even fake personalities, and it’s not just individual people being catfished. Over the past few months, there has been a surge of catfishing pages created for brands. This is when it gets a little bit grey. You can at any time create a brand page for absolutely any brand out there, Google the brand’s logo, put up a cover photo and voila, you’ve got yourself your very own Qantas page.

What does that mean for you?

These brand pages pretending to be big brands are usually giving away an epic prize that only requires you to like, comment, share and sell your soul. Okay, maybe not sell your soul, but these competitions are usually set up to lure people in with a great prize and they will quickly grow fans as more people unknowingly contribute to their engagement.

Unfortunately, usually there isn’t a prize. And you end up being taken for a ride.

Qantas fake facebook page
If you’ve ever seen this on your newsfeed, it’s a fake page.

How do I know?

There are a number of indicators to a fake page.

1. Usually they won’t have any other posts other than their competition

2. They won’t have a huge number of fans and sometimes will have ‘AU’ or a ‘.’ after their name

3. They will ask you to post ‘thank you <insert brand> when you share their fake competition

4. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 5 first class tickets? Hmmm.

5. They’re usually not great spellers and you’ll see lots of little mistakes

6. They don’t have the verified account tick after their name.

Why do people do it?

This is an interesting question and there are a number of answers, the main reason is that these fake accounts are ‘like farms’. What that means is that you’ve unwittingly liked this page and when it gets a large number of fans, the owner will sell it to another business, change the name and merge it. You’ve liked Qantas AU? Well now you like ‘Sam’s Outdoor Warehouse’ when the pages are merged. All this does is give ‘Sam’s Outdoor Warehouse’ a large number of fans that are more than likely going to unlike once they realise what has happened. I never recommend buying likes.

There is big business in like farms, don’t buy into it. Platforms like Facebook are continually offering options to ‘report’ fake pages and asking for proof if pages with a large number of fans suddenly want to completely change their name.

carnival cruises fake facebook page 

Now that you know what to look for, you’ll spot these a mile away!

Have you been scammed online?