Warning issued over Father’s Day WhatsApp scam promising chance to win ‘5,000 coolers full of Heineken for your Dad’
- The ‘competition’ has already been debunked by the Dutch beer giant on Twitter
- Tech experts warn clicking on the link could see cybercriminals steal your data
- Slew of similar operations have been set up by criminals dedicated to ‘phishing’
WhatsApp users are being warned of a fake contest which offers entrants the chance to win 5,000 Heineken beer cans ‘in time for Father’s Day’, in the latest scam to be circulated on the messaging app.
The ‘competition’, which has already been debunked by the Dutch beer giant, appears with the title: ‘Heineken Beer Father’s Day Contest 2022’, underneath and image of an 18 pack of coolers.
The caption, which forms part of a link, continues: ‘5,000 coolers full of Heineken for your dad,’ with ‘heineken.com’ written underneath to make it appear genuine.
It then urges users to share the link in five chat groups or with 20 friends, before telling them to ‘tap continue and claim your gift.’
But those who click on the image will be taken to a fraudulent website.
The site is being used in so-called phishing and scamming operations, created by cybercriminals to ensnare unknowing users into traps that claim to offer vouchers, according to onlinethreatalerts.com.
Heineken took to social media to warn its customers of the scam.
The ‘competition’, which has already been debunked by the Dutch beer giant, appears with the title: ‘Heineken Beer Father’s Day Contest 2022’, underneath and image of an 18 pack of coolers. Heineken took to social media to warn its customers of the scam
Cybercriminals have long used messaging services like Whatsapp to lure in victims. (stock image)
It wrote on Twitter: ‘This is a scam. Thank you for highlighting it to us.
‘Please don’t click on links or forward any messages.’
Cybercriminals have long used messaging services like Whatsapp to lure in victims.
It comes after chocolate lovers were warned in April to ignore a convincing scam offering a free Easter basket, as it was linked to a data harvesting operation inside Russia.
The offer, which was again being shared on Whatsapp, contained a link to a Russian URL which has since been taken down.
Victims were asked to ‘Join the Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt’ with the offer of up to 5,000 free gifts.
Entrants were asked to click on a link which asked for personal information such as passwords.
Chocolate fans were warned against clicking on this Russian-hosted link which had been circulated by fraudsters offering free Cadbury Easter baskets
Action Fraud investigated the suspicious link after being alerted by Cadburys who urged customers to ignore the bogus offer
Cadburys confirmed they were aware of the criminals using the firm’s name and warned customers against clicking on the social media link.
Action Fraud, which is based at the City of London Police, said: ‘Cyber criminals use fake messages as bait to lure you into clicking on the links within their scam email or text message, or to give away sensitive information (such as bank details).
‘These messages may look like the real thing but are malicious.
‘Once clicked, you may be sent to a dodgy website which could download viruses onto your computer, or steal your passwords.’
Action Fraud said people should ‘take a moment’ to think before entering personal information onto a website.
According to their experts: ‘It is okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.’
If someone thinks they have been hit by a fraud, they should contact their bank immediately to block all payments and report the matter to Action Fraud, or call 0300 123 2040.
PHISHING INVOLVES CYBER-CRIMINALS ATTEMPTING TO STEAL PERSONAL INFORMATION
Phishing involves cyber-criminals attempting to steal personal information such as online passwords, bank details or money from an unsuspecting victim.
Very often, the criminal will use an email, phone call or even a fake website pretending to be from a reputable company.
The criminals can use personal details to complete profiles on a victim which can be sold on the dark web.
Cyber criminals will use emails in an effort to elicit personal information from victims in order to commit fraud or infect the user’s computer for nefarious purposes
Some phishing attempts involve criminals sending out infected files in emails in order to take control of a victim’s computer.
Any from of social media or electronic communication can form part of a phishing attempt.
Action Fraud warn that you should never assume an incoming message is from a genuine company – especially if it asks for a payment or wants you to log on to an online account.
Banks and other financial institutions will never email looking for passwords or other sensitive information.
An effected spam filter should protect from most of the malicious messages, although the user should never call the number at the bottom of a suspicious email or follow their link.
Experts advise that customers should call the organisation directly to see if the attempted communication was genuine.
According to Action Fraud: ‘Phishing emails encourage you to visit the bogus websites.
‘They usually come with an important-sounding excuse for you to act on the email, such as telling you your bank details have been compromised, or claim they’re from a business or agency and you’re entitled to a refund, rebate, reward or discount.
‘The email tells you to follow a link to enter crucial information such as login details, personal information, bank account details or anything else that can be used to defraud you.
‘Alternatively, the phishing email may try to encourage you to download an attachment. The email claims it’s something useful, such as a coupon to be used for a discount, a form to fill in to claim a tax rebate, or a piece of software to add security to your phone or computer.
‘In reality, it’s a virus that infects your phone or computer with malware, which is designed to steal any personal or banking details you’ve saved or hold your device to ransom to get you to pay a fee.’
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