By Lucy Buglass
If you’re a WhatsApp user, beware of a fraudulent link that advertises a John Lewis voucher giveaway.
According to Metro, there’s a fake link spreading across WhatsApp that encourages people to answer questions and take part in a giveaway for John Lewis vouchers.
When users click the link, they’re also prompted to answer some personal questions such as their address and WhatsApp information, which can be dangerous when they fall into the wrong hands.
The scam encourages people to send the offer on to other contacts too, which is why it’s able to spread across the app so quickly. People have been caught out by how convincing it looks, as it’s been designed to look like a real Facebook page.
What’s worse is that there are comments too from supposed winners, who could easily resemble real people at first glance.
The fake message reads, ‘John Lewis is giving away £100 Voucher to celebrate its 96th anniversary. Get your free Voucher at [web address]. Enjoy and thanks me later.’
Once the link is opened, the website asks if you’ve ever bought anything from John Lewis, and has a banner at the top displaying ‘remaining vouchers’ to further convince people it’s real.
John Lewis has responded to questions about the legitimacy of this giveaway. In one tweet, they wrote, ‘This offer was not sent by ourselves, and is not genuine. Please do not click on any link or add any of your details. We've flagged this to the relevant team within our business.’
Speaking to Metro, David Emm, researcher at security firm Kaspersky said, “Scammers are attempting to appear legitimate by basing their scams around the John Lewis name, a trusted UK retailer. They’re hoping that unsuspecting shoppers will click on it and disclose personal details.
“Our researchers have found that there has been a 15% increase in e-commerce attacks, highlighting that shoppers are now more vulnerable than ever.
“Typically, we associate e-commerce attacks with phishing emails that direct shoppers to submission forms where their personal and banking details can be stolen, but it is becoming increasingly common for criminals to monitor the screens of consumers remotely through malware attached to websites and mobile applications.”
A spokeswoman for John Lewis added, “John Lewis & Partners takes cybersecurity very seriously. We’re aware of the fake voucher scam which is being circulated via WhatsApp. If a customer receives the scam message they should delete it immediately and avoid clicking on the link.
“We’ve alerted Action Fraud and are investigating further as a matter of priority.”
Lucy Buglass is a Digital Writer specialising in TV, film and lifestyle content and has written for What's On TV, GoodtoKnow and Whattowatch.com. She's passionate about entertainment and spends most of her free time watching Netflix series, BBC dramas, or going to the cinema to catch the latest film releases. In her spare time, she writes film and television reviews for JumpCut Online and her own blog, Lucy Goes To Hollywood.
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