Editor's Pick FACT CHECK

VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Palawan Pawnshop, Lucio Tan cash giveaway BOGUS

A fake Facebook (FB) account is baiting netizens into joining a bogus online raffle using old photos of business tycoon Lucio Tan and erroneously claiming he has pledged to give away cash rewards .

Pālawan Tābunting Pāwnshop, posing as the official FB page of Palawan Pawnshop, said Tan has pledged to give away P12 million in cash to the raffle winners.

Palawan Pawnshop has denied any affiliation with that FB account, and said it does have an online giveaway with Tan as benefactor.

“We are not in partnership with Lucio Tan in giving out cash prizes as the page, Pālawan Tābunting Pāwnshop, claims. The Palawan Pawnshop Group is not affiliated with that page either,” Radi Manuel, a customer care representative of the company, told VERA Files Fact Check in a private message.

Pālawan Tābunting Pāwnshop’s spurious post has already received over 5,900 reactions, 138,000 comments, and 20,000 shares, and is continuously gaining traction from FB users.

To add a false sense of legitimacy to the bogus raffle, the post used photos with Tan in them. However, all the images are old and have nothing to do with Palawan Pawnshop.

The first photo was from October last year, when the Philippine National Bank — an acquired company of Tan’s LT Group, Inc. — was honored by The Asian Banker Awards as the “Best Managed Bank”. The second and third images, meanwhile, could be traced to a March 2011 article about Tan donating his land property in Marikina City to Tzu Chi Philippines, the local arm of Taiwan-based nonprofit organization Tzu Chi Foundation.

Aside from this, the bogus post also made use of common like-farming tactics employed by publishers of sham raffles. For instance, to be eligible for the supposed cash prize, the post requires netizens to comment the letter ‘L’ 30 times, share the post to five different groups, and send Pālawan Tābunting Pāwnshop a friend request. The post also asks netizens to send “their information” or their personal details to a dubious, three day-old page named PALAWAN PAWNSHOP Cash.

The fake giveaway came a few weeks after Vivienne Tan, Lucio Tan’s daughter, shared in an April 17 Instagram post that her father is already “in stable condition” after he was hospitalized for COVID-19.

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