Tesco shoppers are a popular target for scammers. We reveal the most common tactics used by fraudsters to trick you out of cash, including fake vouchers, phishing emails and scam texts.
Tesco Bank phishing emails
When 9,000 Tesco Bank current account customers were hacked last November, it was headline news across the country.
Scammers have been trying to capitalise on it ever since by referencing it in a wide array on phishing emails.
The example pictured below attempts to trick you into handing over your details as part of an "added online security" feature, but we've seen many different versions.
The common theme is that you're asked to click on a link or visit a web page designed to steal your details.
How can you tell it's a scam? Some of the most commons signs include:
- Emails don't address you by name, but instead use a generic term like "customer";
- Message contains spelling or grammatical errors;
- The sender's email address doesn't match the company it claims to be from or is overly convoluted.
If you're ever unsure whether an email is a scam, never click on any links or phone any number mentioned in the mail. Contact your bank by sourcing their details from an earlier statement or by looking them up online.
Scam Facebook posts
You’ll quite often find scam posts doing the rounds on Facebook. They’ll offer generous discounts for clicking on a link and possibly filling out a questionnaire.
The post will say something like:
1) First, Share This Page
2) Lastly, Type "Thanks Tesco" below then hit comment.
The reason it asks you to comment or share is simply to spread the scam to other unsuspecting victims. Any links contained in the post will go to a fraudulent page with an authentic-looking Tesco logo and the ‘Every Little Helps’ tagline.
You can often tell by the URL whether or not the website is legitimate. If it clearly has no connection to the brand, be wary. Websites with .net or .org at the end can be bought by dodgy organisations and are rarely used for online shopping.
Scammers will often set up fake pages supposedly flagging up amazing Tesco offers or even promising to give away prizes to reward loyal shoppers.
In reality the offers don't exist: what they're actually trying to do is grow the number of people liking the page in a practice known as 'like farming'.
Once the scammers have achieved a significant number of likes they will offer a new 'promotion', which this time links to a fraudulent page to harvest your details or automatically downloads malware onto your computer.
Be careful about what you 'like' on Facebook. Only go for people and brands that you trust – and keep an eye out for the blue ‘tick’.
Any pages which don’t have it aren’t official and aren’t anything to do with Tesco.
Photo credit: Tesco / Facebook
Fake Tesco ‘offers’ page
There isn’t a separate offers page on Facebook from Tesco. It’s being used to lure you in and get your clicks.
'Free voucher' giveaway
Photo credit: Facebook
Tesco has stressed that it doesn’t do free voucher giveaways on Facebook. It’s all a big ruse!
Email and text voucher scams
There is a scam email promising £500 worth of Tesco vouchers after answering a survey on their phone.
However, those that completed the questionnaire are finding they’ve been signed up to a premium rate text service, which charges them to be entered into a monthly draw.
There have also been reports of text message scams taking you to a questionable website to get your voucher.
Of course, it's not just Tesco that scammers are imitating. Read our roundup of the most common supermarket scams and how to avoid them.
How to avoid Tesco scams
The same rules apply here as they do to many other scams.
Dodgy spelling and grammar, pressure to act quickly and offers that seem ‘too good to be true’ are sure-fire warning signs of a fraudster.
Links in scam emails often go to questionable sites – make sure you’re always keeping an eye on the URL.
It’s best practice to check the left-hand side of the URL bar for a green padlock key or the word ‘secure’. This is especially true if you’re making a payment.
Similarly, check the domain of the sender if you’re suspicious of an email. It probably won’t be in any way related to the company that’s trying to contact you.
If all else fails, contact Tesco directly by phoning their customer service line on 0800 50 5555 or send scam emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be wise to these other scams:
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