Free Tesco voucher email scam: how to stay safe

A new 'free voucher' scam email targeting Tesco Bank customers is doing the rounds.

Tesco Bank customers are being targeted with a new email scam that claims to offer free shopping vouchers. 

The email claims that victims just need to click on a link and fill out certain details to qualify, which of course takes you to a fake site designed to steal your personal information.

While these voucher scams are depressingly common you can see – how other supermarkets are targeted here – this one is more convincing than most as it can address you by name in the email. 

What's more, they're being widely distributed: fraud prevention service Action Fraud said it had seen reports of these emails "flying in" today, so it's possible people could be falling for it. 

How to stay safe

However, there are still obvious signs it's a scam, which most of our readers will no doubt have noticed already. There are grammatical errors strewn across the mail – something that should always set the alarm bells ringing. 

For example, the offer will apparently be "on until the July 2017 [sic]"

If in doubt, follow the mantra that, if it seems to good to be true, it probably is.

Whatever you do, if you see a generous offer from a supermarket, be sure to check with the customer services team of the shop in question.

Don't click on any links contained in the email or voucher in question, but rather look up the contact info separately.

The Tesco scam email

There are many variations of the email scams doing the rounds. Here is another example of a Tesco scam email loveMONEY writer Tony Levene received.

Dear tony.levene

We have great news! Your email address [which it then gives] was exclusively selected.

Well done – you made it! You have qualified and are therefore among the chosen few entering the final draw for a Tesco voucher at a value of GBP 1,000. [The Argos and Curry's versions substitute those stores for Tesco.]

Enter Here, and confirm your address to begin.

This is an exclusive link.

Registration from this email is only possible until 31.08.2014 at 23:59.

Entries that are not claimed will re-enter the sweepstake. 

Good Luck!

Your Voucher-factory

Signs it's a dodgy email

The first tell-tale sign of a scam is how the name appears in the email. You'd think that even spammers would know to remove the dot in the middle. That's not even mentioning the lower case letters.

The other is that the prize is in GBP 1,000 (a sign that perhaps the sender doesn’t have a pound sign on their keyboard).

The email is then signed off ‘Voucher-factory’, which shows it’s not even affiliated with Tesco!

Clicking the link

These signs should stop you clicking any of the links in the email.

But Tony decided to see where it took him.

After clicking on ‘enter here’ he was taken to a site with a series of questions.

The first asked whether he is a man or a woman. The answer didn't matter, for the second question: “Have you ever bought groceries online?” was identical whatever your gender.

Again, ticking yes or no made no difference – the third and final question was to select your age from a series of bands – such as 30 to 39 or 50 and over.

Whatever he selected, it worked on “sending answers” and “analysing results” so that - surprise, surprise – Tony is then “qualified” and “forwarded to the prize page” – making him “qualified” twice over.

The website then said he could “register” free of charge. To do this, Tony had to enter his address, date of birth and phone numbers.

The terms and conditions do not mention how often the £1,000 is given away, although they do say that the same prize stretches across many websites and the winner “will be selected by random computer”.

Who is sending the emails?

This particular scam email came via an email site in North Carolina, from a UK company called Marketing Punch.

In 2011, the Advertising Standards Authority upheld two complaints against Marketing Punch, trading as OfferX.

The first referred to an email campaign using the heading "OfferX has 300 pounds for Sainsbury's to give away". The ASA said that because OfferX was not named in the main body of the e-mail, the overall impression was that it had been sent by, or on behalf of, Sainsbury's. A second mailing did not state OfferX's name at all. 

The ASA also found that the emails breached its code because of a lack of clarity over who sent them. But the watchdog exonerated Marketing Punch of a challenge that the prizes offered in the ads were genuine and as described.


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