Giveaway Scams

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Hi, guys!

Today is my first serious post about an issue other than home decor, DIYS, or crafts. I am writing this post hoping that other bloggers will read it and avoid the up-and-coming Instagram “Loop Giveaway” scams that seem to permeating the app. If you’re on Instagram (as a blogger or personal user) you will undoubtedly have noticed your feed filling up with these massive prize giveaways ($700 Victoria’s Secret, $1,000 Nordstrom, etc.). To enter, users have to tap the giveaway image and another username appears. They click the username and tap their giveaway image and follow the next person, etc. Eventually the user loops back around to where they started, hence the name.

These giveaways are so tempting to both the blogger and the average Insta user. First, new bloggers love them because they can pay a small amount (say, $10-20) and everyone who is included in the loop usually receives hundreds of followers as a result. They are enticing to the average user, because, well, hey…they could win a ton of cash!

However, I have learned a hard lesson. I have discovered that some very savvy (albeit evil) bloggers collect all this money from people, host the loop, and then the “winner” that is selected is either a friend and they split the cash, or, even worse, they create a fake Instagram account as the “winner”–essentially, the host is the winner. Some ofย  these hosts could potentially be making thousands of dollars a month off of innocent bloggers.

Now, there are legitimate giveaways to participate in if you’re a blogger looking to attract followers. However, you need to be smart about it. Here are some tips to hopefully prevent you from falling prey to one of these scams.

LOOP GIVEAWAY TIPS

  1. Participate in smaller giveaways with bloggers you actually know. The truth is, your followers don’t want to overload their feed by following 30+ people they don’t know just to enter your giveaway. Your followers deserve better. I am guilty of subjecting my followers to that in the past and I won’t do it again! (Please accept my apology now for that).
  2. Avoid paying large amounts of money (this seems obvious). If you send $10 to a scammer, you won’t feel as horrible as sending, say, $50.
  3. Before you send any money to a giveaway host, be sure they communicate well. If they are legit, they will send you something in writing that is very clear which details exactly how the giveaway will be run. Hosts should explain to you the following things:
    -What the prize will be
    -How your payment will be collected
    -When the giveaway will go live and how long it will run
    -How the winner will be selected
    -How the winner will be confirmed
    -How the host will confirm the prize was actually sent to the winner (i.e. proof of communication between the host and the winner, a tracking number, or a digital receipt)

The reality is, though, that if these hosts are really good scammers, they’ll know how to photoshop a fake receipt. Not to mention, the person they supposedly send this money to could be a fake e-mail that THEY own and they still pocket a TON of cash.

Basically, I can’t stress this enough–work with bloggers you know and can trust. In all honesty, if you get yourself involved in these large group giveaways, you’ll find that many people just unfollow you after it ends, anyway. I have learned along the way that I want to attract long-time followers who are interested in the work that I do, not just a temporary follower who solely wants a prize.

Here’s the good news: I have found that most giveaway hosts are sincere and professional people who only want the best for their followers and want to create a strong network of bloggers and form friendships along the way. If you’re a new blogger, keep your wits about you out there in the blogosphere and you’ll meet some incredibly wonderful people who will guide you in the right direction.

If you are a real professional and would like some tips on how to host a giveaway, Lauren over at Honeybee Boutique has a great post on this topic. Thanks, Lauren!

Always lookin’ out,
Destiny

P.S.
“Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.”
-Anne Frank

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8 thoughts on “Giveaway Scams

  1. How do you recognize if a loop giveaway is a scam? I’ve been entering a bunch of them and also suspected that the “winner” was a friend or fake account – they all seem to be the same type of person, ironically a mom and Jesus freak. So they seem legit? Personally, I”m tired of having my newsfeed clogged, private acct. public and not knowing if I’m getting ripped off. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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    • There are few tell-take signs. First, if an account hosts many giveaways that are of high dollar amounts, that’s cause for concern. And, interestingly, they often host ones for the SAME dollar amount. Very fishy.

      These shady hosts also usually don’t ever post the winner, or if they do, they post for a day or two at most and delete the post. The winners often have very similar qualities, too. Such as few posts, few followers, etc. I was personally scammed last year and now I’m very cautious!

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  2. Do you know if there are any repercussions if you win a “scam” loop? I won a giveaway for $500 to Bath & Body works. I contacted the host through DM and she proceeded to show me screenshots of her trying to purchase the gift cards. Told me oops, I can only do $250 gift cards so I’m going to send you two $250 gift cards. I said that was fine with me and she proceeded to show me a screenshot that they don’t accept PayPal as payment for gift cards and let me know she would just send me the $500 over PayPal. I gave her my PayPal email and she sent a screenshot of the “sent” message, with my email address typoed. I let her know immediately that wasn’t my email address and she was able to call PayPal and fix the email address, I should receive an email within an hour. Fast forward several hours and I let her know I still haven’t received the email. She then claims to have called PayPal again, verified they sent it to my email address, and that the payment has been claimed. I inform her no such thing has happened and ask for her PayPal email or a transaction ID so I can verify it with PayPal myself. I call PayPal anyways and they let me know I have zero pending transactions, just like online shows, and no one has tried to send my account money. The next morning she claims to have called PayPal, confirmed the email again, and finally gives me a transaction ID. She then proceeds to tell me that she has talked to other instagrammers and I won a loop giveaway for a designer purse which I claimed was stolen off of my porch and asked them to send another one. (This is completely bogus information, I’ve never won a giveaway for a purse and don’t even see how anyone would even try to hold that loop’s hosts responsible for a stolen purse anyways, USPS or the person who stole it (which would mean getting the police involved) are the only logical steps I could even imagine…) Low and behold, I called PayPal armed with the transaction ID she gave me, are we surprised that the transaction ID is either fake or made up? At this point I have no idea what my recourse is. I’ve had the biggest ups and letdowns in the last two days.

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