It’s time for a little Disney Public Service Announcement! Throughout the year I see hosts of fake Facebook pages claiming to be the official Walt Disney World, Disneyland or Disney Cruise Line Facebook pages, and they all say they are giving away free trips, tickets or cash prizes. Please don’t be fooled! There are several easy ways to spot a Disney trip giveway scam, and being able to identify the differences could ultimately protect you and your personal information from identity theft or your computer from information hacking.
There are 5 simple ways to spot a fake Disney Facebook page. (And the same methods can be applied to other fake pages as well)
1. Official Facebook pages have a checkmark located right next to the page name in the header.
No checkmark? Not official. This is not a mark you can add yourself. If the page is missing the Facebook check but is claiming to be an official Facebook page there are a couple of things you need to do. First, don’t engage the page. Don’t like it, like any of it’s posts or comments, or share the page or page post. Second, report it. Click the three little dots in the header and a window will pop up. Click “It’s Spam or a Scam” and then continue. This alerts Facebook to the fact that the page is not legitimate. (Sadly, Facebook doesn’t seem to care, but at least you will feel better after reporting it). Finally, move on.
2. Look Closely at the Page Name. If it has any strange punctuation it’s not legit.
Facebook doesn’t allow multipe pages to have the same name. Therefore there is ONLY one Facebook page actually called Walt Disney World, Disneyland and Disney Cruise Line. There are tons of pages with variations of the name, but only one page per location that features the correct name. Scam pages use a variation on the name, such as Disney World instead of Walt Disney World, and will often add a period to the end of the name. In the example above you can see that the page name is Disney World., which is a clear indicator that the page is fake.
3. Check Out How the Page is Categorized
The page category appears directly under the page name in the header. Walt Disney World and Disneyland are categorized as “Theme Park”, and Disney Cruise Line is categorized as “Travel/Leisure”. The fake pages are generally catagorized as “Transport/Freight” or “Travel/Leisure”. Unfortunately the Travel/Leisure category is easy to fit in to, so be particularly careful to check for other signs if an unofficial page manages to gain that category description.
4. Look at the Number of Likes the Page Features
The official Walt Disney World and Disneyland Facebook pages will have “likes” and visits in the millions and a star ranking. Disney Cruise Line’s official page simply shows likes, but again they are in the millions. Fake pages will usually show “likes” in the thousands, but because they do get shut down fairly regularly (always to pop up again) they never reach the millions.
5. Does the Page Allow Users to Post Directly to the Page
All official Disney pages allow Facebook users to post directly to the page in a new thread. Fake pages allow users to post in the comment section of a post, but are not set up to allow users to post a new topic, picture or video. Probably because people like me would break my own rule and post “SCAM” over and over and over again…
The More You Know…
We all want a free trip to Walt Disney World or Disneyland, a free Disney Cruise, free tickets or an awesome gift card, and unfortunately less reputable people know that. That’s why fake Disney pages are so popular and so hard to keep on top of. Educating yourself on the ways to spot a fake Disney page, and ultimately a Disney trip giveaway scam is important. And it’s not just Disney! I see similar pages and scams pop up for all major airlines, cruiselines, and expensive product lines. Please, please, please always be cognizant of what you are sharing on Facebook, Twitter, etc. These fake pages are phishing and/or hackign schemes trying to gather your personal information, hack into your computer or install malware to your system. Never click ANY link from a page unless you KNOW it is official, and warn family and friends if you see them fall victim to these schemes.