Every couple of weeks Facebook gets hijacked by a semi-convincing scam.
Today, it’s a particularly enticing one. “Qantas Airline” is offering– well, it’s hard to be sure.
Depending on how you interpret the vague text, it might be a free first-class flight aboard the flying kangaroo, or perhaps a year’s worth of free first-class flights.
As this popped up in my Facebook feed today, fuelled by the ‘shares’ of friends understandably enticed by a seemingly good prospect, some common warning signs pointed to a scam.
Here are the giveaways:
- The name of the poster. “Qantas Airline” rings alarm bells. “Qantas Airlines” would be more convincing, but still suspicious. A quick search reveals the airline goes by the simplified “Qantas” moniker on Facebook, just as many corporate accounts do. For example, the bank prefers “ANZ Australia” rather than the long-winded: “Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited”.
- Liberal use of exclamation marks. These are rarely used (or required) in professional communications. As author F. Scott Fitzgerald said: “Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.” Such a hefty scattering is a good indication of amateurs at work.
- Unnecessary capitalisation of letters. There’s no reason for “million”, “share” and “free” to use capital letters. This is generally the easiest way to identify a scam. Corporates generally run their marketing content past a subeditor to ensure it’s mistake-free before it’s sent out for public consumption.
- Misplaced apostrophes in “step’s”, “winner’s” and “inbox’d”. Missing hyphens and accidental double-spacing in the post also smack of shoddiness.
- The low-res image of a ticket accompanying the post was clearly not taken by a professional.
- “Winners will be inboxed.” If Qantas really did run such a huge promotion, the airline would want to squeeze every possible drop of promotions out of it. A simple inbox message to announce the winner? Highly unlikely.
There you have it. A few easy ways to identify if you’re being taken for a ride.
Thoughts/sledges welcome below.