Since at least December 2021, a scam circulated on Facebook that showed pictures of talk show host Ellen DeGeneres promising $750 or sometimes $1,000 in Cash App prizes. Some of the ads said there would be 100 winners, while others said 150 people would win. The scam was exposed on r/scams on Reddit on Jan. 16, 2022.
It's unclear why Facebook allowed this scam to go on for so long, considering the company has tens of thousands of employees and content review workers on the clock worldwide and brings in billions in quarterly revenue. We've seen scams like these with pictures of DeGeneres' face plague Facebook for years.
The scams usually follow the same pattern and are laid out in steps like the new Cash App posts that featured DeGeneres. The strategy for the scammers is usually to make the posts and then later delete them to cover their tracks, just as we saw in the past with fake vacation giveaways to Bora Bora and Las Vegas. We removed the link from this example:
✨ ? SPECIAL EVENT ? ✨
Hello everyone....!! I will choose a random person to receive $750 prize for 150 winners!!! Congratulations to the chosen people I commented on "YOU WIN", all you have to do now is follow the instructions!!
STEP 1 ''LIKE and SHARE this post''
STEP 2 REGISTER immediately here ?? (link removed) ?
STEP 3 Comment "DONE"
Note: This is real, if you miss this golden opportunity then your name will be changed to another name due to time constraints, thank you.
As an example of how easy it is to find such scams, something Facebook should have no problem doing itself, we uncovered several others while writing this story. We simply opened Facebook on a laptop, searched for words that often appear in scam posts such as "like share comment step" (without quotes), sorted the results by "Posts" only, and then chose to only see public posts. We were then shown a list of live scams. Within seconds, we quickly found scams that promised free money for mobile games as well as one for a fake Las Vegas giveaway.
If readers see the $750 Cash App scam for "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" or any other scams like these, don't click the links. Such scams could lead to phishing attempts or other potentially dangerous outcomes. The official Facebook page for The Ellen DeGeneres Show is facebook.com/ellentv.
Have you seen a scam or other sketchy Facebook posts or ads? Click the three dots in the top-right of the post, copy the link, and contact us.
Newton, Casey. “Mark Zuckerberg Is Betting Facebook’s Future on the Metaverse.” The Verge, 22 July 2021, https://www.theverge.com/22588022/mark-zuckerberg-facebook-ceo-metaverse-interview.