Great news, I didn’t really think this morning, when I checked my Facebook timeline to learn the that the Australian airline Qantas was giving away “five tickets each to 900 people for a two week trip to Fiji in a 5 star hotel with $5,000 spending money”, for no apparent reason. All I had to do was share the post and my name would be in the hat. The trouble with something that seems to be too good to be true is that it normally is.

Facebook is full of these ‘free holiday’ posts and most of them are scams, like this one. There are no free flights to Fiji just like they weren’t when an almost identical scam appeared a year ago. Qantas has been on the end of a number of similar spam attacks over the years and they make it very clear that these posts are nothing to do with them.

I searched the internet and found what is happening and why on the excellent Hoaxslayer website. This is what is actually happening:

“The intention of these scammer like-farmers is to increase the value of the bogus Facebook Pages they create so that they can be sold on the black market to other scammers and/or used to market dubious products and services, and distribute further scams. The more likes a Page has, the more resale and marketing value it commands.”

Put into layman’s terms, for my benefit more than anyone else’s, it’s a scam and the people misleading us on social networks are, to all intents, criminals. How else can you interpret the term ‘black market’? I have no idea what sort of black market we are talking about, but I would imagine it might just be acting outside the law of the land.

Those sharing the scams are obviously decent, caring folk, who want us to have our opportunity to win what would be a holiday of a lifetime, but they’ve been scammed too, as we will be if we further share the scam with others. The perpetrators are abusing the kindness of others to enhance their own dubious activities. Not very nice, is it?

It’s no different from the Nigerian bank which wants your banking details, PIN details essential, in order to give you a few million quid. I always smell a rat when I see any of these free holiday or free just about anything posts. If in doubt, visit the Hoax Slayer website or SNOPES. You know it makes sense.