“Congratulations to our previous 500 winners,” one post reads. “Here is another chance for another set of 8,000 people to win.”
The post has been shared in India and South Africa, and viewed by nearly 16 million users. It shows four photos of people holding phones and paper shopping bags with “IPHONE RJ” on them.
But the post is a scam, and so is the page.
Beware of engagement bait
The photos in the post were taken from the Instagram page of iPhone RJ, a Brazilian company.
And the “page transparency” section of the “Get your free Iphone” Facebook page shows it was created as recently as 27 July 2020. It has only posted twice, both times to offer “free” iPhones.
But how does the scam work?
To win, Facebook users are asked to comment on the posts with the letter “I”.
This is an example of engagement bait – posts that ask people to interact by liking, commenting on or sharing them. The more people do this, the greater the Facebook page’s reach.
Some genuine competitions will ask Facebook users to like and share. But strange requests to comment are an immediate red flag.
The posts also ask Facebook users to send private inbox messages. This is also suspicious and could be an attempt to steal your personal information.
To avoid being caught out, read our guide to Facebook scams. Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. – Africa Check
For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false
A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”. What should you do? First, don't delete!
Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.
Africa Check teams up with Facebook
Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.
The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.
You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.