ALTON Towers has warned its customers to not fall for a new scam promising fake free passes to thrill-seekers.
A Facebook page, called “Alton Towers fans” which featured images and branding from the park without permission, was set up last month.
It claimed people could get four free season passes – which start from £53 each – if they clicked a link.
It then directed people to a website which asked people to confirm they were 18+ before going on to a new page.
Facebook users said the page then directed them to a broken website page.
Yesterday, the people who ran the page tried a different tack, encouraging people to share and comment on a post to get a chance in winning.
The post they had to share said: “To celebrate the full reopening of our Alton Towers Resort we’re doing something very special!
“We’ll be giving everyone who has shared & commented on this status by 11pm 4 free seasons passes for Alton Towers (valid until 2022).
“Good luck and stay safe.”
The post was shared more than 1,000 times and liked by 1,000 people.
It’s unclear exactly if users were asked to send any details across, or if anyone lost any money through the scam.
Alton Towers told The Sun the page is fake, was set up without its knowledge and said it had reported it to Facebook and the company’s profit protection team.
A spokeswoman said: “From time to time fake sites do unfortunately spring up claiming to offer discounts or free tickets to Alton Towers Resort.
“We absolutely condemn this activity, and have taken steps to shut down this page.
“Anyone looking to visit Alton Towers should purchase ticket only through our website www.altontowers.com or reputable partners.
“We urge anyone who sees a site or social media post claiming to give away free or discounted tickets to Alton Towers to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can investigate and take the necessary action.”
After The Sun brought the page to the attention of Alton Towers and Facebook, the page was taken down.
A spokesman for Facebook said: “Fraudulent activity is not tolerated on our platforms and we’re removed the page brought to our attention.
“We continue to invest in people and technology to identify and remove this content, and we urge people to report any suspicious posts to us.
“As part of this work, we have donated £3 million to Citizens Advice to deliver a new UK Scam Action Programme and set up a dedicated reporting tool, supported by a specialist internal operations team.”
How to protect yourself from scams
BY keeping these tips in mind, you can avoid getting caught up in a scam:
- Firstly, remember that if something seems too good to be true, it normally is.
- Check brands are “verified” on Facebook and Twitter pages – this means the company will have a blue tick on its profile.
- Look for grammatical and spelling errors; fraudsters are notoriously bad at writing proper English. If you receive a message from a “friend” informing you of a freebie, consider whether it’s written in your friend’s normal style.
- If you’re invited to click on a URL, hover over the link to see the address it will take you to – does it look genuine?
- To be on the really safe side, don’t click on unsolicited links in messages, even if they appear to come from a trusted contact.
- Be careful when opening email attachments too. Fraudsters are increasingly attaching files, usually PDFs or spreadsheets, which contain dangerous malware.
- If you receive a suspicious message then report it to the company, block the sender and delete it.
- If you think you’ve fallen for a scam, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use its online fraud reporting tool.
Fake Facebook pages are sometimes set up to trick people into handing over their personal details, which can then be used by scammers to commit a fraud against you or gain access to your bank accounts.
Another type of Facebook con commonly reported is called “like-farming” which is where someone sets up a fake page to gain “likes” – making the page more popular than it actually is.
Scammers then change the name of the group and either start spamming the people who’ve liked it with other fake adverts, or they’ll sell the page on.
Some adverts also contain links to unsecured websites which may infect your computer with malware.
How to stay safe online
HERE are some top tips to keep yourself safe online – including on social media:
Protect your password
Never share your login information
- Scammers may create fake websites that look like Facebook and ask you to login with your email and password.
- Always check the website’s URL before you enter your login information. When in doubt, type www.facebook.com into your browser to get to Facebook.
- Don’t forward emails from Facebook to other people, since they may have sensitive information about your account.
- Learn more about avoiding phishing on Facebook’s website.
Log out of Facebook when you use a computer you share with other people
Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know
- Scammers may create fake accounts to friend people.
- Becoming friends with scammers might allow them to spam your timeline, tag you in posts and send you malicious messages.
Watch out for malicious software
- Malicious software can cause damage to a computer, server or computer network.
- Learn the signs of an infected computer or device and how to remove malicious software.
- Keep your web browser up to date and remove suspicious applications or browser add-ons.
Never click suspicious links, even if they appear to come from a friend or a company you know
- This includes links on Facebook (example: on posts) or in emails.
- Keep in mind that Facebook will never ask you for your password in an email.
- If you see a suspicious link on Facebook, report it.
It’s the second time this week a UK destination popular with Brits has been targeted by fraudsters.
A bogus competition page which promised a free Center Parcs holiday was also taken down by the social media website yesterday.
Before it was reported, the page was shared by 17,000 people.
In August, Moonpig customer accounts were said to be ‘hacked’ and crooks allegedly stole hundreds of pounds worth of booze and gifts.
Meanwhile, HMRC has said it fears up to £3.5billion has been paid out in wrong or fraudulent furlough schemes.
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