Fake Westfield and The Base shopping centre social media accounts shut down

By Ophelia Buckleton

The page "Westfield - Auckland" asked people to "celebrate our birthday" by entering to win cosmetics packs and 50 $2000 flight vouchers. Photo / File
The page "Westfield - Auckland" asked people to "celebrate our birthday" by entering to win cosmetics packs and 50 $2000 flight vouchers. Photo / File

A number of shopping centres say fake social media accounts posing as them have appeared, attracting thousands of followers by offering huge giveaways.

Facebook pages which claimed to be The Base Shopping Centre in Hamilton and Westfield in Auckland began circulating this week asking customers to like, comment and share to win prizes.

These include business class flights, 50 $2000 flight vouchers, iPhones, $5000 gift cards and cosmetics packs.

The page "Westfield - Auckland" attracted more than 25,000 likes on a post asking people to "celebrate our birthday" by entering to win cosmetics packs and 50 $2000 flight vouchers.

Once customers clicked on the link about the flight vouchers, posted in the comments, they were redirected to a website.

Debra McGee, the national PR manager for Scentre Group which manages Westfield shopping centres in New Zealand and Australia, said the page was not their official page and they alerted Facebook to the page yesterday and are investigating the matter.

"We are not happy about it."

On its Westfield Auckland Facebook page, a post warned customers saying it "is not legitimate."

McGee said Facebook removed the page this morning.

The fake Westfield page.
The fake Westfield page.

"This is the first time this has happened to us ... It is frustrating for people who legitimately think they are on our page when they are not.

"People like to enter competitions but need to be more aware."

The Base also made a post on their Facebook page yesterday, warning customers of "an imposter account" and to "not click on links or provide personal details."

NetSafe executive director Martin Cocker said it is not uncommon for scammers to use known and trusted brands to fraud people.

According to Cocker, customers who followed the links shared on the fake Facebook pages could be at risk of two things.

"The websites could be used to deliver viruses to people's computers ... or to gather personal information, which can be used to run fraud against them later on."

Cocker said anyone who shared information on the website should scan their computer for viruses, be vigilant and if any customers gave bank account details they should contact their bank.

Another link was distributed on Facebook last month, which redirected users to an unofficial Air New Zealand website promising two free airline tickets to anywhere in the world.

Air New Zealand warned customers about the scam, which was inducing people to provide their personal details, on social media on August 26.

All of the fake shopping centre pages have now been removed by Facebook.

- NZ Herald

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