Customers who shop at chain-store and online retailers such as Argos and ASOS are falling victim to fraudsters. These scammers are renewing their efforts to trick innocent shoppers. By pretending to be the retailer themselves, they contact customers with sometimes convincing messages. The customer might end up providing their bank details and logins without realizing that it is a scam. These criminals will then use the personal details they collect to steal money and commit identity fraud. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, read about the following common scams you should avoid falling for.
The UK Mystery Shopper website offers rewards for shoppers who review stores for them. An advert on this website claims that Aldi is requesting mystery shoppers. Those selected could receive a £100 gift card for the store. To receive the gift card, you would have to fill out your details on a third party website. This is where things get fishy. A legitimate business such as Aldi would never ask customers to do this. For future reference, Aldi does not provide gift cards in the UK either. A spokesperson for UK Mystery Shopper confirmed that this was not a genuine business opportunity. The website has never claimed an association with Aldi. If you see this advert or a similar one, don’t let the temptation of a prize fool you into giving away personal details.
Fraudsters are sending fake text messages to Argos customers regarding deliveries and refunds. The message might say that a package is waiting, or they can get a refund for their Argos Card. These messages can sometimes appear in threads of genuine messages from Argos. This is why customers might believe that the scammer is really Argos. The messages will include a link the customer has to click. The link could take you to a website advertising cheap iPhones, which encourages you to enter your bank details. Even if you don’t fill anything in, clicking the link can allow the scammers to access information through browser cookies. Argos is aware of the scam and encourages customers to ignore any messages with spelling errors, which won’t be from Argos.
The recent ASOS scam didn’t actually con people out of money or personal information. However, it involved fraudulent Instagram accounts claiming to be ASOS. Several accounts (without the blue verification tick) claimed to be giving away £100 ASOS gift cards to a certain number of followers. Thousands of people fell for it, following and tagging the accounts as requested to try to win a gift card. All they were doing was giving these fake accounts more exposure to keep gaining followers. By the time ASOS confirmed the accounts were fake, they had all become different accounts with new names. The fact that over 300,000 people believed the scam is worrying, even if there were no serious consequences. Never trust an unverified brand account.
Another scam involving free gift cards is targeting shoppers at Sainsbury’s. An e-mail pretending to be from Sainsbury’s claims the customer is entitled to vouchers after being overcharged for a previous shop. Customers must click a link to claim the compensation gift card. As you might be able to guess, the link takes them to a third party website asking for personal details. The e-mails use the customer’s first name, which makes customers believe the message is genuine. The e-mails claim to be from Mia Chadwick in Customer Services. Sainsbury’s has confirmed that this is a scam, and they are not sending e-mails offering gift cards. Customers are advised to be wary and look out for poor-quality spelling, grammar, images, and graphic design in e-mails.
How to Report Scammers
If you experience a scam similar to any of these, contact the retailer using verified methods. Avoid clicking on any links in a suspicious e-mail. The retailer can then warn its customers about the scam, especially if they get a lot of reports. Since retailers have nothing to do with the scammers, they can’t investigate themselves. You must report the scam to Action Fraud instead. This is the national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime in the UK. They work with the government and police to investigate and prevent scams like those mentioned above. You can fill out an online report for phishing e-mails or texts at any time. If you have lost money as a result of the scam, contact Action Fraud by phone immediately.