There are few truisms in life that can guide you as well online as “if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.” Online offers that advertise everything from “free” products to steep discounts on vacation packages. There are some ways you can tell whether the ad you’re looking at is likely a scam, and we thought we’d take you through one example ad we spotted and show you some of the signs.
First, here’s our ad. The first thing to notice is the price. A collection of power tools that would likely sell for well over a hundred dollars even on a steep discount, and could commonly be found for a couple hundred dollars being offered for $60. This is a too good to be true price. Now, it’s possible that this isn’t fraud based on the price alone, they could be offering that price but then charging a shipping and handling fee to cover the larger cost or the purchase also obligates you to some membership or subscription package whose cost would also make up for the discount. All things that might seem unethical, but technically wouldn’t be considered “fraudulent.” This does serve, however, as an initial warning that we want to dig deeper.
So to get more information, we’ll click on the icon for the posting page in the upper left hand corner. This will take us to the page for the business posting the ad. We note first that the name of the business doesn’t seem to be a legitimate one. The other posts on the page also indicate this is likely not a legitimate business. The cover photo and profile are set to a generic landscape image. Beyond the ad, there are no other posts on the page.
If we go to the “About” tab on the business page, we see that it largely hasn’t been filled out. There’s no link to a company website, nor is there any contact or location information. Further, the business category has been set to “TV Show” which has nothing to do with the ad itself.
Next we can access the “Page Transparency” report that Facebook displays. You can access this from the company’s main Facebook page on the right hand side. After clicking on “Page Transparency” we’re given a report that shows some background information about the company page. Here we can see when the page was created. If it’s a recently created page, it has a higher risk of being fraudulent, but that’s not always a clear guarantee one way or another. We also note where the page admin is located and how many admins there are. In this case, there’s one admin and they live in Italy. Corporate pages tend to have more than one admin as they’ll have a team of people responsible for managing the page. Depending on the service in question, it’s also not likely that a legitimate business would have all of their admins located in another country if they’re offering a physical product to US consumers. Again, these factors by themselves don’t rule a page as being fraudulent, but taken together with other clues can indicate we should be wary.
With the information we’ve gathered, we can determine it’s likely someone from Facebook should review this account. We can now go back to the original ad in question to report it as possible fraud. We first click on the three dots icon in the upper right hand corner of the ad and select “Report ad.”
After this, we’re given the option to select why we are reporting the ad, in this case we would select “It’s Spam.” After reporting the ad, you’ll be given the option to hide all ads from that same page.
We hope you found this helpful in understanding what to do when you see a possible fraudulent ad on Facebook. There’s another lesson to be learned here as well. When it comes to advertising on Facebook, ensuring you have a professional approach is crucial to your success. As we’ve noted, items not filled out on your company page may make your ads seem like they aren’t legitimate. That’s a benefit from working with a team like those of us here at SEO Unpacked. We can ensure that in addition to creating high quality ads for the online space, your company Facebook page is set up to provide the best possible impression for prospective clients. Professionally developed graphics with your branding, ensuring all the necessary company information is correctly filled out, and even generating quality content for other posts to drive your page in the Facebook algorithm and give possible clients a sense of confidence when reviewing your Facebook page. We offer marketing tailored to your business needs, contact us for more information today!