Do you enter Facebook competitions? Then you should be aware that lately there are a few dishonest people attempting to claim prizes that aren't theirs. How do they do it? Simple. When a promoter announces a winner's name along with a message to say 'contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your address details', they're emailing with their own details. If the email address doesn't contain any names the promoter will probably be fooled and post the prize: and if the REAL winner never gets in contact, they've successfully stolen goods by deception! Some of these fraudsters are even going as far to 'clone' the real winner's Facebook profile, copying their name and photo and even leaving a 'Thanks' on the winning announcement...
This may all sound rather worrying, but what can be done about it?
The problem lies with the way most companies run their Facebook competitions. Facebook promotional policy states that they should use an App and get an email address from every entrant. The winner is informed via the supplied email address, so no problems there then!
BUT most promoters don't stick to the rules: they run competitions on their Facebook wall, choosing their 'random' winners by scrolling through a list of Likes or Shares. And the only way to contact their lucky winner is by Facebook message (this isn't ideal as a message must be sent from a personal account, and will end up in the hidden 'Other' inbox) or by posting a status update with a contact email address.
If you have hundreds of comping friends on Facebook then you have a handy advantage - if a friend spots your name announced as a winner they can 'tag' you in a reply, and you'll receive a notification. If you don't have many Facebook contacts, you'll have to hope you see the status update in your NewsFeed, or make a note of the comps you've entered and ensure you keep checking the pages. Unfortunately many promoters won't make a second attempt to contact you, so the prize may be forgotten - which isn't fair at all, when they're at fault for not getting your email address via an App!
What YOU should be doing is regularly googling your name (see my blog post on how to do this), perhaps even adding a middle initial to your name so you're unique on Facebook and easier to find in a Google search. LIKE the Winner's Circle Community page, where the members share winning announcements. If you join in with comping conversations on Facebook and add new comping friends, they will look out for your name and 'tag' you if you win - you can always start by adding me!
I published a detailed post on this topic over at my SuperLucky blog this week, with advice for promoters on how to avoid problems with Facebook wall comps. If you do have concerns about how a competition is run, or how the winners are announced, you could share my blog post on their Facebook wall - the easy-to-remember link is http://bit.ly/FBWallComps
Sadly, this behaviour isn't restricted to Facebook – promoters have published their email address and asked winners to claim via Twitter replies and blog posts - in both cases I have heard of prizes being claimed by, and posted to, 'fake' winners. If a promoter realises their error they hopefully won't do it again, but really we need to encourage bloggers to use Rafflecopter, and Tweeters to use Direct Messages, so no email addresses are shared in the public domain. Let's not allow these fraudsters to spoil our hobby!
I followed your advice and liked the Winners Circle. Have you seen it this morning. most are asking the winners to contact them on a public email address. I wonder how many scammers are out there looking at that today?