How To Spot a Fake Giveaway

June 16th, 2020  |  by Eva

Ever wondered if some companies do Giveaways of prizes just for show and don’t send out any prizes? Well, we’ve had an experience we’d like to share so if you want to spot a fake giveaway then read on!

Beanbags and freedom

At Filmstro we always prided ourselves on a relaxed management style. We allowed flexible hours and home-working, gave staff ‘duvet-days’, had a ‘cycle to work scheme’, and tried other perks like providing breakfast etc. We certainly didn’t bother with dress codes or corporate protocols and wanted our team to feel autonomous.

Rogue One

Well, it turns out that one member of the team became very autonomous indeed and went rogue! When we changed our marketing team in 2018, it meant that one member of the team alone would supervise and organise our regular Giveaway competitions. This would involve choosing a prize worth around $200 and then promoting a Giveaway on our social channels. The important step would be to choose a winner from amongst the people who’d entered and then send the prize directly from our business amazon account.

Red flag

When this member of staff left the company and didn’t give us access to the Amazon account (which had the email and password changed to his personal details) we became suspicious. Luckily the good people at the Amazon fraud team managed to restore our access before he deleted everything. We then discovered that, over an 18-month period, every single Giveaway had in fact been fabricated by him and he had sent himself amazon e-gift vouchers instead of sending out prizes!


When we cross-referenced this on our social channels we even saw that he’d gone so far as to post fake winner announcements with made-up names. Stranger still, we saw that on a couple of these transactions he had even included gift notes (to himself) addressed to those fake names. However, eventually, he got so sloppy he didn’t even bother posting winner announcements and started just stealing amazon e-gift vouchers without bothering to make up fake Giveaways.

Better late than never

Once we found out we then rectified the situation by choosing a winner from all of the competitions and sending out real prizes. Let’s just say the winners were surprised to receive something months and months after entering, but we’re glad it’s finally been rectified.

Spot a fake giveaway

So, how do you spot a fake giveaway? Well, always look for a winner announcement that is in line with the advertised original Giveaway. A Giveaway should state when submissions to enter or take part end and give an indication when the winner will be chosen and where the winner will be announced. Even if a winner is announced, make sure it’s somebody with an actual Facebook profile and not somebody who works for the company that did the Giveaway!

All’s well that ends well

We hope this is useful in some small measure, but most importantly we wanted to get this message out to set the record straight. Even though somebody who we trusted and employed for nearly 4 years betrayed our trust, we’re still very proud of our brand at Filmstro and have an awesome team. We’ve certainly learnt our lesson…

Seb Jaeger – Founder | May 2020