Scammers are using the recent online supermarket delivery boom to try and trick people into handing over their personal details.
With more and more people opting to have their shop delivered to their home during the pandemic, the Chartered Trading Standards (CTSI) has warned about a spate of fake texts claiming an order from one of the big four supermarkets is out for delivery and asking you to confirm your details.
Given that each supermarket has millions of customers and the huge number of online deliveries being sent out each day, it's entirely possible these blanket texts will reach a person who is indeed expecting a delivery from that very shop in the near future.
But it's vital you don't share any information as the scammers could use it to carry out identity fraud using your details.
How the scam works
One of the fake texts (shown below) claims ‘your Asda order is out for delivery’ while another pretending to be from Morrisons claims to offer details of your grocery order.
The links will lead you to a webpage that apparently allows you to track your order and view a delivery note. Any details you put in this webpage is used by fraudsters to target your bank account.
It’s vital that you don’t click on these links or enter any personal information. A common tactic of scammers is to impersonate your bank – and they use any information to try and convince you they are legitimate.
It’s also worth warning that these fake texts are not limited to Asda or Morrisons – other supermarkets may also be impersonated.
There are other variations of this scam. For example, some fake texts might claim you have a ‘package waiting’ and to ‘check and confirm.’
But if you look at the tweet below showing one of the scam texts, the link has nothing to do with Asda at all and it's from a random number – a clear sign it’s a scam.
“Scammers are sending these texts to phone numbers on the off chance that the recipient has placed an order with the particular supermarket,” said Katherine Hart, lead officer at CTSI.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a greater reliance on home shopping deliveries making the public more open to falling for this scam than ever before.
“The public should be aware that these campaigns are not limited to the Asda, or Morrisons brand, and they may receive messages quoting the names of other major supermarket chains.
"If you receive suspicious texts like these, please contact the supermarket if you shop with them and verify.
“Also, forward any scam texts to 7726, which is a free reporting service run by Ofcom.”
“We are aware of a string of scams that are being sent to customers impersonating various different brands, including Asda, through SMS messages,” said a spokesperson for Asda to CTSI.
“We will never ask for any personal information through text messages, and any SMS communication from us does not come from a mobile number.
“We would like to remind our customers that they should never click on suspicious links, but if anyone is unsure about any communication claiming to be from Asda, please contact our customer services team.”
"These messages are being circulated by third-parties who are posing as Morrisons, for the purpose of fraudulent activity," said a spokesperson for Morrisons.
"We would like to remind our customers they should not click any links, open attachments or enter any personal information.
"If any customers are concerned about the communication they receive from us, they should contact our customer services team."
How to stay safe
If you receive a suspicious text or email about a grocery delivery from your favourite supermarket, don’t click on any links or respond to it.
Typical red flags of scam texts include spelling mistakes, grammatical errors or odd links that don’t match the organisation the fraudster is trying to imitate.
It’s best to log in to your online account after looking up the details yourself to check your details of your latest delivery, including when to expect your order.
You can also contact the supermarket yourself if you think you’ve been targeted by fraudsters by calling or using social media. If it’s a scam, the supermarket should easily be able to confirm this.
You can report any suspicious texts to Ofcom by forwarding it to 7726, free of charge.