I was investigating a travel deal advertised on "Deal Chicken" (similar to Groupon) that seemed too good to be true. It was $395 for an 8-day, 7-night vacation for UP TO 8 PEOPLE at one of more than 500 resorts worldwide $1500 value for $395!
The url for the deal is: https://www.dealchicken.com/buffalo-ny/18005
I went to the website of the travel place, Luxury Resorts Worldwide, (http://www.luxuryresortsworldwide.com), which BTW has no phone number or other way to contact them. I did do a live chat with someone there (while I was on the page the option popped up, it's not there always). They forwarded me to their facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/LuxuryResortsWorldwide) and I read many positive reviews there. Suspicious though, I started looking at the FaceBook pages of the people recommending the travel packages. Each FaceBook page I looked at was suspicious...
Many had apparently no friends and almost no activity on their Facebook page:
This one had a few friends: http://www.facebook.com/kathy.dickey.39
But hardly anything on her page; One of her posts about a dog had one reply from one of her freinds. That freind was also suspcious and had virtually NO activity on their account: http://www.facebook.com/susan.lay.121
Then there were some people with a lot of friends and a lot of activity on their account. Unfortunately, a LOT of their friends were also people who were vouching for how great Luxury Resorts Worldwide was. The people on the Luxury Resorts Worldwide FaceBook page, purporting to be typical customers are not likely going to all know each other! AND, if you look at their Facebook pages, a LOT of the content on their pages were all copied from the same sources!
For example, http://www.facebook.com/sadun.jayawardana.5 (who goes by the name Randy Donald) is friends with:
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003587 />http://www.facebook.com/sakuni.peiries (who goes by the name Amanda Larry)
http://www.facebook.com/priya.hettiarachi (who goes by the name Smantha Parker)
http://www.facebook.com/sujeewa.saman (goes by the name Alex Railly)
http://www.facebook.com/upekshawee (goes by Bree Brown)
http://www.facebook.com/saduniwe (goes by Britny Ray)
ALL of these people left positive comments on the Facebook page of Luxury Resorts Worldwide (http://www.facebook.com/LuxuryResortsWorldwide) of how awesome the deal was, or how great a trip they had, etc. Britny Ray (http://www.facebook.com/saduniwe) talks about how happy she and her husband were with the deal, while her Facebook profile indicates she is single.
ALL of the people above (friends of Randy) have similar content, same pictures re-posted from another source. And if you look at the few people who left comments on some of the posts, their FaceBook pages often look suspicious too.
I don't know if the company and the travel packages it offers is legit, although I have seen *many* sites with *many* complaints. There were some positive reviews on other sites, but one of them I saw was from one of the people listed above. But what I DO know is that it appears the testimonials left on their FaceBook pages are fraudulent.
How has FaceBook not cracked down on this?! Isn't there SOME duty for them to verify their system isn't being used to scam others? Especially since this is a place advertising goods and services through FaceBook and using other FaceBook accounts to show how legitimate their services are? As a software developer myself, I know there are some relatively simple techniques FaceBook could employ to identify this type of blatant fraudulent activity.
I am just sorry for all the people who have gotten scammed, especially those who thought they were doing their homework by reviewing the recommendations on FaceBook for Luxury Resorts Worldwide.
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