Readers should watch out for scams spreading virally across WhatsApp that claim to offer £250 gift vouchers for either ASDA, Tesco or M&S. Different variants are also claiming to give away free cars.
The messages may appear to have come from a WhatsApp contact, but they’ve really been sent by scammers intent on leading you to spammy, marketing websites.
For example, see the messages below –
Hello, ASDA is giving away £250 Free Voucher to celebrate 68th anniversary, go here to get it … Enjoy and thanks me later !
Hello, Tesco is giving away a £250 Free Voucher to celebrate its 98th anniversary, go here to get it: Enjoy and thank me later!
The messages include a link that appears to take you to the website of the respective supermarket. However it doesn’t since the scammers are using non-English characters that appear to look like the English alphabet (look closely at the letter d in the image above, for example.)
In fact, these websites direct to spammy marketing companies that will try and lure visitors into signing up for various “rewards” by handing over their personal information (which is then duly sold to a variety of third parties) leading to the visitor being bombarded with spam.
There are no £250 gift cards on offer, and these messages have nothing to do with the supermarkets they mention in the message (who are not giving away gift cards to celebrate their anniversary.)
These scams are typically circulated on Facebook but occasionally target users of other social media networks or apps, including WhatsApp.
At around the same time, WhatsApp users have also been reporting a similar scam where incoming messages are claiming to give away free cars for clicking a link. Variants of this message claim to be giving away Hyundai and Mazda vehicles amongst others.
Urgent Hyundai offers free cars model 2018 on the occasion of the 99th anniversary of its establishment get yours now
The links included with these messages are leading to more spammy marketing webpages.
Remember that links or messages offering expensive gift cards just for clicking a link are always going to be fake, especially if they lead to third party websites that want all of your personal information. So don’t fall for them!