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Morrisons and Sainsbury’s customers targeted by scammers on WhatsApp

The rise of WhatsApp scams – here’s what you need to know about this social media con

Morrisons and Sainsbury’s are the latest big-name retailers being used by scammers looking to trick people via WhatsApp into parting with their personal details.

Social messaging service WhatApp is becoming an increasingly popular channel for scammers to use. These two new supermarket cons follow a similar Costa Coffee WhatsApp scam we highlighted last month.

These message usually come from a close friend or relative, tricking the recipient into thinking they’re a safe endorsement and fine to share with their own contacts.

We informed Morrisons and Sainbury’s about the fraudulent WhatsApp messages. Morrsions confirmed it is a scam, and Sainsbury’s thanked us for notifying them of the hoax.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: ‘Customers should always be mindful of phishing scams. This message is not from Sainsbury’s and we are advising customers to delete it.’

How WhatsApp scams work

WhatsApp scams are often very similar to other social media ones you might see on Facebook and Twitter. They often feature promotional deals and competitions that are too good to be true, such as free gift vouchers or birthday gift cards.

The URL shared in the message typically contains the name of a big-name retailer, leading people into believe the page it’s linking to is genuine.

But instead, clicking on the link will usually take you to an online survey asking for your personal information, including your email, home address and phone number, before the free ‘prize’ or free ‘gift voucher’ can be sent to you.

When the survey is completed, you’re asked to select WhatsApp friends to share the deal with. The promotional message and link is then sent to all of those contacts.

If you’re not sure whether the link or offer in a WhatsApp message is legitimate, don’t click on it. Contact the company directly to ask if the deal is genuine and warn the person who sent it to you.

Read our guide on how to spot a social media scam for more information on WhatsApp scams and how to identify them.

What to do if you’ve entered your personal details

If you’ve entered personal details, you need to be extra vigilant.

  • If you receive any suspicious emails or odd postal messaging going forward, ignore them – they could be from a scammer hoping you’ll fall for their next scam.
  • Keep an eye on your credit report and bank accounts – scammers can use personal information to steal your identity and open new accounts or take out credit.

The scammer could also add your details to a ‘suckers lists’ of people who are liable to fall for a future scams, commonly sold on the dark web.

Whatever form a message comes in, make sure you don’t give away any bank details or passwords.

Read our guide on how to spot an email scam for top tips about identifying email scams.

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