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Planning Retirement Online


 Face the realities of Facebook


July 2018

Older man looking at a computer
Even the adverts on Facebook need to be treated with caution

Facebook is now equally popular with our generation as it is with the youngsters…we are catching up! But it seems not in every area.

Frauds and scams via social media are sadly all too common, and it seems the older you are, the more likely you are to be taken in. Maybe it is because we were brought up in a much more trusting era; or perhaps we just become less vigilant as we age.

Either way a sad fact of modern life is that we always need to be on our guard. A case in point is Facebook and a brilliant illustration of how we can all be duped has just been prepared by the team of a West Country newspaper, the Somerton Sentinel.

The team decided to find out how Facebook checks the adverts it puts up; adverts that it receives good money for and are carefully target at specific groups of Facebook users. Anyone who uses Facebook will have seen a range of adverts.

The Sentinel team made up some hilarious adverts for Facebook. One example was:

Send us your cash and we promise we’ll enjoy it. We don’t like to use the term “fraud”; it’s so pejorative…
No interest rate raises. And we’ve no interest in making money for you. But if you let us have your cash we’ll make quite a lot for ourselves…
I cannot stress enough that we are not regulated by any of the financial services that look after finance companies in the UK. We just stick two fingers up at the rules…way to go.

Another example of one of their Facebook adverts was:

Total flood at a house this morning. We managed to break a connection between two pipes. Had to do a runner before the householder noticed.
Another happily overcharged customer – will they notice the water leaking from that joint? Nah. Not for a week or two anyway.
I absolutely guarantee you two things: We have no idea what we are doing.

They are great and they make you smile…except that these adverts were accepted and put up by Facebook. The Sentinel team had to identify their target audience, submit these adverts for approval and of course pay for them to go up.  They said they had an interesting 30 minutes waiting to see if Facebook would rumble them; but no. These crazy adverts went smoothly through Facebook’s so called approval system and were put up on Facebook for a week. Facebook even came back to the Sentinel with the number of page “likes” they had received.

The lesson we can all learn from this is that today before you buy or agree to anything, you do need to double check as much as you can to verify any advert is genuine.

There have been several stories in the media recently about poor holidaymakers who have arrived at villas booked and paid for online only to find there are double bookings or worse still no villa at all.

It is a devious world out there and sadly, while we would love to live in a sunny totally honest utopia, the real truth is that everyone is after our money.

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