Police are warning people about this Center Parcs Facebook scam



Police are warning social media users to look out for a new Facebook scam, which claims people can win a Center Parcs holiday (Photo: Shutterstock)

Scammers are targeting people on Facebook with the offer of a free Center Parcs holiday.

But the deal, which has already been shared by thousands of people, is part of an attempt to harvest unsuspecting people’s data.

Police are now warning social media users to look out for the scam, which claims people can win a Center Parcs holiday if they share its Facebook post.

Fake Facebook post

The page has been set up by scammers for ‘like-farming’ which is a technique used to get many likes and shares.

A Center Parcs spokesman said, “We are aware of a page on Facebook offering the chance to win a Center Parcs break, this is not a genuine page.

“Please do not enter your details or share the page.

“Genuine pages have a small tick next to the name and this shows the page is verified.”

How the scam works

A fake post offering free trips to the Center Parks at Longleat, Wiltshire, was first flagged by Devon and Cornwall Police on Facebook. Facebook users have also reported seeing similar scams for the Sherwood Forest holiday park.

Once the post has had enough ‘likes’ the fraudsters will edit the post, possibly adding something malicious such as malware, or remove the original content and replace it with spam.

Some of these scam pages have also been known to collect the personal information Facebook hold about people.

The post purports to be from a person called ‘Mark Frendon’ who claims to be the CEO of Center Parcs. It features images of ‘Mark’ surrounded by golden envelopes that supposedly contain tickets for the holiday. However, the post is a scam. It is not connected to Center Parcs and those who participate have no chance whatsoever of winning any holidays.

The truth

The CEO of Center Parcs UK is Martin Dalby not ‘Mark Frendon’. And, the golden envelopes featured in the scam post were actually used to hold the results of the Oscars for the 2016 Academy Awards show.

The image was taken from a February 2016 Los Angeles Times report about the making of the Oscars envelopes. And, the same golden envelope image has been used in several other Facebook giveaway scams.

Police confirmed no one ever wins a prize on these pages, and have issued the following advice:

“Check out the page in full. Most large genuine businesses will have a small tick next to their name to show the page has been verified How far back to the posts on their page go? This page was only set up eight hours ago.

“The genuine Center Parcs page goes back years How many likes do they have. The genuine Center Parcs UK page currently has over 369,000. This page currently only has 29,000. But that’s over 29,000 who have all put their personal information at risk in only 8 hours!”

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