'Such a shame': Social media scammer targets Norwich pub

Red Lion pub, inset Stuart Robertson

Stuart Robertson, assistant manager at Red Lion pub in Drayton, said staff were shocked they found themselves being targeted by a scammer - Credit: Stuart Robertson/ Google

A city pub has been targeted by a vicious online scammer after launching a harmless Facebook giveaway.

In a bid to increase its social media presence the Red Lion pub in Fakenham Road in Drayton released details of its "biggest giveaway yet" on Facebook on October 20.

But less than 12 hours after the competition had been launched — asking users to like and share the Facebook post to be entered into the draw — a scammer had set up a copycat account.

The account began messaging anyone who had liked, commented or shared the original Red Lion post, asking them to click on a link and register their details online.

Assistant pub manager Stuart Robertson said it came as a shock to staff because nothing like this had ever happened before.

He explained: "The giveaway was supposed to be a nice thing for people. It offers a table for two at a date and time of the winner's choice, including a two course meal each and a gin tree.

"But then at about 10pm on the evening we launched the competition, we had dozens of confused messages from people saying an account with the same name as ours had been adding them as friends and asking them to follow some weird link.

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"Luckily I think most people smelled a rat.

An account purporting to be Red Lion Norwich was messaging hundreds of people online

An account purporting to be Red Lion Norwich was messaging hundreds of people online - Credit: Stuart Robertson

"Enough people reported it that the account got removed, and we banned the user from our own Facebook page.

"It's such a shame really, I don't know why people feel the need to do things like this.

"The scammer must have got through quite a lot of people, because 160 people liked it, 214 shared it and 51 commented."

Mr Robertson said the business had been going from strength to strength since the end of the last lockdown in April.

Stuart Robertson said the scam came as a shock to Red Lion staff

Stuart Robertson said the scam came as a shock to Red Lion staff - Credit: Stuart Robertson

He added: "Everything has been going really well, but we're trying to plug our social media pages. We've neglected them a bit in the past.

"That's what this giveaway was for, and then someone goes and spoils it."

He confirmed the competition was still up and running and the winner would be drawn on November 1.


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