A fake campaign to give away a car

Posted by Tim Johnson on October 15, 2013 

Someone started circulating a fake announcement on Facebook. It shows a photo of a Volkswagen Scirocco and said in Spanish that if you followed three steps you would be eligible to win a new model free on Oct. 20.

The “ad” instructs the user to share the photo, click “like,” and choose whether you want a white or black Scirocco should you win.

By the looks of it, the ad began in Chile but it has circulated widely elsewhere, including in Mexican social media, where some 12,000 people "like" the fake ad. My friend Bernardo in Guadalajara brought it to the attention of friends on Facebook and said he’d queried VW Mexico. This is the response he got back:

"Hi Bernardo, The pages that circulate on the Internet announcing a raffle do not officially belong to Volkswagen, so we ask that you ignore them and not share any information on them for your safety."

The fake ads caught fire in Chile. This Chilean news site shows that the fake fan page quickly drew more than 99,000 visits. More than 18,000 users shared the photo.

The Chilean news site said such fraudulent ads have a motive behind them:

“There is a black market for fraudulent websites on Facebook, and the modus operandi is to attract large numbers of users with fake promotions, then sell the list of subscribers to some unscrupulous company that takes advantage of the unwary…

“The advice to avoid falling for these scams is clear: If the promotion seems too good to be true … it probably is.”

I just pulled up the Volkswagen de Mexico Facebook page, and officials there gently tell fans that they are not involved in any giveaway:

“Any type of promotion, event or contest will be announced ahead of time and released through official channels, accompanied by a note on this fan page with the terms and conditions. We thank the friends who have told us of some promotions through unofficial channels, and Volkswagen of Mexico hereby distances itself from them.”

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