A Facebook post claims that Virgin Holidays is giving away a Cyprus holiday for 2 for users who share and comment on the post. The post was published by a fake Virgin Holidays Facebook page and shows a picture of Sir Richard Branson surrounded by golden envelopes.
Hello everyone, I’m Sir Richard Branson the founder of Virgin. Today I have some brilliant news, 25 random people who have shared then commented by 11 pm tonight will each be getting one of these gold envelopes containing a Cyprus holiday for two! (Any Date)
The post is just another example of a Facebook like-farming scam where scammers try to persuade Facebook users into sharing a post which helps it spread across the social network. In addition, the same scammers are trying to persuade users to visit marketing websites including survey sites by asking them to sign-up.
The websites promoted by the scammers are designed to gather personal information such as your name, email address, home address, telephone number, and more. This information is usually sold to unknown parties or used to develop a marketing profile. If the websites obtain your personal information, you can expect email spam in your inbox, junk mail at home, and telephone calls from telemarketers, robocallers, and scammers.
Image source: Oscars 2016: A closer look at those ritzy award envelopes and their super-secret delivery (https://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-ca-mn-oscar-envelopes-20160221-story.html)
The image of Sir Richard Branson in the post is digitally altered. The image has been modified many times before and used in connection with other Facebook scams, including Center Parcs Facebook scams. The original image is actually an image of Oscar envelopes for the Acadamy Awards taken in Los Angeles in 2016. In the original image, Marc Friedland is surrounded by the golden envelopes and holding two envelopes in his hands. Sir Richard Branson was added to the image and the envelope labels were changed.
The post has nothing to do with Virgin, Virgin Holidays, or Sir Richard Branson. The Facebook page that posted the give away is not verified; it lacks the blue verification mark that the real Virgin Facebook page has which should be a clear sign that the post is fake. Virgin Holidays is aware of the fraudulent post and has published a post stating that the page is not associated with them.
Sharing and commenting on fake Facebook posts makes you, your friends, and family members makes you a target to cybercriminals. If a cybercriminal knows that they have tricked you, they may target you again with something more severe.
We strongly urge you to avoid this type of scam, you won’t win anything and you’re putting yourself at risk every time you engage with the fake Facebook page. Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.