Scam posts shared thousands of times on Facebook claim Nokia is handing out phones to help students during the pandemic (William West / AFP)

Nokia latest to be hit by Facebook phone giveaway scam

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Facebook posts shared thousands of times claim Nokia is handing out phones to help students during the pandemic. However, the company said it has nothing to do with the scheme. Dozens of scam pages promising free phones have sprung up in recent weeks, a common ploy to boost follower numbers. 

“NOKIA is ready to give away 2000 phones to people because of this pandemic period. FREE PHONES FOR STUDENTS AND WORKERS,” reads text shared at least 16,700 times in multiple posts on the Facebook page ‘Nokias Hot 2020 Phones Nathan’ before it was taken down.   

The Facebook posts (archived here, here and here) ask users to comment with the letter “t” and message the page with a screenshot of the post for a chance to win. The posts have attracted more than 15,900 comments in total, with many asking for a phone to help with their studies.

Screenshot of comments on a Facebook post, taken on July 1, 2020

Following the instructions, AFP Fact Check messaged the Facebook page with a screenshot of the post. We received an automated reply asking us to share the giveaway in 10 Facebook posts.

“If you are a student, Congratulations you have successfully won a brand new NOKIA from our store. The last step now is to like our page and SHARE our giveaway post to 10 active facebook groups, after that wait our system will check it out soon (sic),” the response reads.

“NOTE: You can’t fool us, if you don’t share, you won’t get your PHONE.”

Screenshot of Facebook conversation, taken on July 1, 2020

Contacted by AFP Fact Check, a spokesperson for Finnish mobile phone company HMD, which manufactures Nokia phones, said: “We can confirm this is fraudulent activity by a third party which was reported to Facebook, and shut down … Any competitions from us will always run on our official social media channels. During COVID-19 we have supported local communities by delivering free phones to those in need, but our activity has been coordinated offline.”

AFP Fact Check has debunked a similar scam involving Vivo phones which were worded similarly to the posts about Nokia. Facebook scams often ask users to comment, like and share posts in order to boost follower numbers before the pages are sold and their names changed.