I knew I was adult-ing, when conversations with my friends went from trading tips on the latest and greatest happy hours to the best weekly deals at a number of grocery stores based on department. Unfortunately, as our interests and priorities for getting more “bang for our buck” have changed, scammers have started catching on as well.
Thanks to a tip from our friends across the pond, we’re keeping an eye out and giving you the inside scoop on a new scam that’s been spreading across the U.K. and taking advantage of what any normal adult is looking for: retail deals!
In a time where we’re lost if we’re not connected to our phones, scammers are seizing this weakness and sending out fake vouchers through text message, WhatsApp, and the likes of Facebook and Twitter.
How They Do You Wrong
“Victims of the scam often receive a Facebook message from one of their friends. The message will read along the lines of “Happy Christmas. Free £500 ASDA Voucher Now. (173 Left). Claim your Free £500 ASDA Voucher this Christmas. Offer still open!” If you click on the provided link, you’ll go to a website that looks as though it’s from the company. You will then be prompted to answer some questions to get your reward. Once you’re done, the site will ask you for your mobile number so the prize can be sent out to you,” reports Think Money.
As scammers send out links to the numbers that were openly given to them, they rely on victims to click on the links, which will then download software to phones and allows scammers to steal a victim’s personal information, install tracking cookies, or add browser extensions that will repeatedly send out more ads to the victim’s phone.
How To Fight Back
- Don’t Be Click Happy
As appealing as the coupon may sound, (yes, step away from the 50% off deal) be wary as far as what you’re clicking to redeem the so-called amazing offer. A good “tip before you click” is hovering over the link to check where the address is actually taking you, usually seen in the bottom left hand corner of your screen. If it looks suspicious, go with your gut feeling, and click out of your browser immediately.
- Check Your Sources
Your most reliable resource is going straight to the source. Before redeeming an offer, go to the retailer’s official site to find information about the promotion, if any.
- 2 Legit 2 Quit
Unfortunately, scammers are able to create fake social media accounts that look good enough to be real. Don’t be fooled! Legitimate company accounts are verified with a blue tick next to their name in the search bar. However, not all companies are verified, so keep an eye out on how many followers and likes they have, and if they have legitimate website links.
- Too Good To Be True
Not all sharing on Facebook and Twitter is caring. If offers sound too good to be true, or if you receive a group message from someone you rarely communicate with, it may be a good idea to ignore the offer.
Despite you not seeing this scam flooding your phone quite yet, keep in mind, once it does, you now have a plan of action in your back pocket before you become a scammer’s easy target!