Users of messaging app WhatsApp have been warned to beware scam messages claiming to offer supermarket vouchers.
Action Fraud – the UK’s fraud and cyber reporting centre – says it’s seen Asda, M&S, and Tesco variations of the scam and is urging people not to click on the link in these messages or to forward the “offer” to friends.
One message seen by Action Fraud states: “Hello, Tesco is giving away a £250 Free Voucher to celebrate its 98th anniversary, go here to get it: [link] Enjoy and thank me later!” [sic]
Fraudsters sent similar fake Sainsbury’s and Topshop voucher deals through WhatsApp last year, according to Action Fraud.
These messages appeared to have been sent by a contact, however, the recipient name was fake.
Action Fraud warns that if you click on the link, you’ll be taken to a fake website designed to trick you into handing over personal information. By clicking the link, fraudsters can also collect personal information from your device by installing cookies that track you or add browser extensions that can be used to show you adverts.
How to protect yourself from messaging scams
Action Fraud advises taking the following steps to protect yourself from instant messaging scams:
- Install security software on your devices and keep it up to date.
- Never click on unsolicited links in messages, even if they appear to come from a trusted contact.
- Follow WhatsApp’s advice on staying safe when using its service.
If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via its website.
If money is fraudulently taken from your account, report it to your financial provider immediately.