VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Imposter ‘Pacquiao’ FB accounts post FAKE US500M giveaway

Several Facebook (FB) pages and accounts posing as Sen. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao’s official social media channels are scamming netizens into joining a bogus US$500 million raffle.

VERA Files Fact Check tracked down at least five FB pages and two personal accounts that used the name and images of the senator-athlete and his family for the fraudulent raffle: these are Pacman the Punch king, Many pcquieo Jamall153, Manny Pacquiao DEAD, Manny Pacquiao Aswin, and Manny Pacquiao diantepong; and Entah Apa and Wisnu Rian Saputra.

All seven published the same call from Dec. 31, 2019 to Jan. 8. Claiming it was “not a fraud,” the posts said Pacquiao will give 300 netizens between 10 and 90 million each, depending on the first letter of their name when they comment on the post. Their prizes will supposedly be sent 15 minutes after commenting.

In a separate instruction in the comments section, participants were also told to register through a link, which when opened leads to a site featuring photos of 100 Chinese Yuan bills and a “Register” button. The button redirects to a questionable “free movie streaming” website.

Pacquiao, in his two official FB pages, has made no announcement of a cash giveaway worth US$500 million. There are also no reports from legitimate media outlets about the senator distributing cash prizes on social media.

Pacquiao’s most recent giveaway was not done online but during his 41st birthday party last Dec. 18 in Makati where he raffled off prizes for his supporters, according to a Rappler report.

Some of the imposter accounts noticeably appeared to be not of Filipino origin. The cover photo for ‘Entah Apa’, for example, features a meme in Bahasa Indonesia. A couple of the FB pages affixed unfamiliar terms after Pacquiao’s name such as “aswin” and “diantepong.”

The fake posts surfaced around the same time reports on Pacquiao’s upcoming boxing fights made the rounds on the Web.

Collectively, the fake giveaway posts were shared over 124,000 times, with thousands of netizens expressing their hopes to win the raffle in the comments section.

FB page Pacman the Punch king was created on Jan. 5; Many pcquieo Jamall153 on May 6, 2018; Manny Pacquiao DEAD on April 11, 2018; Manny Pacquiao Aswin on Sept. 28, 2018; and Manny Pacquiao diantepong on June 8, 2019. Entah Apa on the other hand appears to be a month-old account, with its first post published last Dec.7, while Wisnu Rian Saputra’s first public post was published on Jan. 3.

VERA Files Fact Check last year also flagged a fake raffle posted by another FB page pretending to be Pacquiao’s official social media account. (See: VERA FILES FACT CHECK: ‘Pacquiao’ FB page promotes FAKE raffle)

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