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WhatsApp scam connected to Sainsbury’s £250 gift voucher

Published: 16/01/2017 by Comments

WhatsApp scam connected to Sainsbury’s £250 gift voucher

A message from Sainsbury’s, offering customers a gift voucher worth £250, turns out to be a scam to obtain your personal details.  The supermarket chain is alerting customers to be cautious of the gift card scam, which is circulating via WhatsApp.

The message urges customers to complete a survey and pass on the message to 10 friends in exchange for a voucher worth £250. It seems however that the scam is just a way for cyber thieves to retrieve your personal information and no voucher exists.

Twitter is rife with customers expressing anxiety over the message, but advice from the supermarket is: “This isn’t an official Sainsbury’s communication and you should ignore/delete it without replying.”

For others, the warning comes too late – as one twitter message reveals in a tweet to Sainsbury’s: “So I filled in your survey for £250, sent a whatsapp to 10 friends as asked and then got an error message!”

Customers of the supermarket chain had a similar experience last year – on that occasion with a £100 gift card.

The URL on the message appears to lead you to the Sainsbury’s website but instead you are taken to a scam page. 

A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s told,“We are aware of the issue and are advising customers to delete the message.”

The deceptive link installs cookies on the unsuspecting user’s smartphone, or enables a browser extension which releases further adverts to the customer – all the while creating more revenue for cybercriminals.

Security specialist with ESET, Mark James, told “Sadly people still fall for these types of scams, they are tricked and teased into following a link from their favourite social media app without actually recognising the dangers.

“They are usually presented with an offer of freebies with little or no effort on their own behalf.

“Once on the page all manner of malware could potentially await them, this could include but is not limited to potential phishing attacks to obtain your personal or private information, installation of malware, harvesting your details for spam attacks or displaying inappropriate pictures or videos.”

The service was affected by another WhatsApp scam last week claiming in its content that: “WhatsApp will become chargeable.”  The message proceeded to caution users to stop the impending charges by forwarding the message to a further 10 contacts. The message tells users that if they complete this action their WhatsApp logo, which is currently green, will turn blue – indicating that messaging will now remain free.

Colette Lamb
News article by:
Colette Lamb

A business sector writer with over 15 years of experience working in the marketing, commerce and law sectors' internationally and in the UK. Interests include composing music and other creative communications such as art and dance therapy.

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