Trading Standards is warning the public to be vigilant about a new scam circulating online, falsely presented as a Center Parcs competition.
The government body says the ploy has already tricked more than 17,000 people.
Fake Center Parcs competition scam
Scammers have set up a fake Center Parcs page, which claims to offer Facebook users the chance to win a free stay at the Longleat resort, located in Warminster. However, the competition is a scam which has been designed to trick people into giving away their personal details.
The fake page, named Center Parcs Longleat Resort, promised "a free Center Parcs holiday for 4 at Longleat and £500 to spend.”
Wiltshire Trading Standards (WTS) has now issued a warning for people to be vigilant in order to not fall victim to the scam.
Writing on Facebook, WTS said, "Spoiler Alert - You aren't going to win a holiday but you may lose out to scammers.
"This page was set up 3 hours ago and already has almost 18k shares. The page was only set up today and does not belong to the official @centerparcsuk.”
The WTS explains that scammers set up these pages in order to obtain personal data or to collect likes. If the latter is the case, then the page is later sold or changed names by the scammers in order to fill your Facebook newsfeed with spam.
The WTS advises people to spend time checking out pages before they like and/or share posts, taking into account when the page was set up and how many posts are on the original page.
The WTS explains that the public should ask themselves, "Does the page have the blue tick to confirm the profile is the official page of the business it's claiming to be?"
A spokesperson for Center Parcs said, "Like a lot of well-known brands, our brand name has been used without permission by unauthorised Facebook pages on a number of occasions.
"We have been made aware of an unauthorised page on Facebook offering the chance to win a Center Parcs break and can confirm this is not genuine. We have reported this to Facebook.
"We would like to remind people not to enter their details or share the page. If ever in doubt about a post, please visit our official Facebook page to check if it is genuine."