VERA FILES FACT CHECK: FB accounts revive FAKE ‘Pacquiao’ US$500M giveaway

Two Facebook accounts, one pretending to be Sen. Manny Pacquiao’s, are luring netizens into joining a fake online giveaway worth “$500,000,000.”

This is the second time this month — and the third time since January — that VERA Files flagged bogus raffles on FB done by poser accounts of Pacquiao. (See: VERA FILES FACT CHECK: ‘Pacquiao’ FB page promotes FAKE raffle and VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Imposter ‘Pacquiao’ FB accounts post FAKE US500M giveaway)

On March 21, an FB netizen used a photo of the senator-athlete as a display image, while page Viral Trend PH published on March 27 mechanics of a “raffle” where Pacquiao was to choose only “300 winners.”

Pointing out explicitly that it “is not a fraud,” the accounts claimed winners may take home a cash prize and the amount would depend on their first name. All the letters from A to Z bore a corresponding amount between 10 and 90 million. To join, one merely has to share the post with five other FB groups. After 15 minutes, the prize would supposedly be deposited in the winner’s account.

This is a hoax, and reflects the same mechanics of a bogus giveaway that VERA Files Fact Check has previously debunked.

The senator’s foundation published on March 21 an advisory warning people against scams. “We have been receiving messages from people claiming that they won a certain amount from our foundation. The Manny Pacquiao Foundation is currently not running any contests, raffles or sms promos,” the post read. “In line with this, any messages sent to you saying that you won our ‘raffle’ is clearly a scheme to phish information from you.”

To give the impression it was Pacquiao who made the posts, the fake raffle announcements carried an image and video of him.

The netizen’s version, which has been shared over 3,200 times, featured an image of Pacquiao and his family during his 41st birthday last December, taken by Pacquiao’s official photographer Wendell Alinea. A copy of it is available in an ABS-CBN report. Viral Trend PH’s copy, shared more than 1,500 times, carried a 2017 video of Pacquiao thanking the Cayman Islands for warmly welcoming him to the island.

The fake giveaway was posted and widely shared on social media days after it was announced — through the official FB page of the Manny Pacquiao Foundation — that Alibaba founder Jack Ma would be donating 50,000 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test kits to the Philippines.

Viral Trend PH was created on March 18.

(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)