Tesco 'COVID-19 shop for free' voucher scam email: how to spot it’s fake

Tesco 'COVID-19 shop for free' voucher scam email: how to spot it’s fake

Fake emails claiming you could be in with a chance to 'shop for free' during the COVID-19 outbreak are doing the rounds. Don't click the link or you could have your personal info stolen.

Lisa-Marie Voneshen

Rights, Scams and Politics

Lisa-Marie Voneshen
Updated on 21 April 2020

A new email scam sees criminals posing as Tesco to offer customers free vouchers, which will allow them to ‘shop for free’ during the coronavirus pandemic.

But it's just a ruse to steal your personal info – here's how you can spot the fake mail and stay safe.

Tesco voucher scams are rife

Unfortunately, given Tesco's popularity, this isn't the first con we have reported on involving criminals impersonating the supermarket, as we highlight in these ‘package waiting’ and ‘free Tesco voucher’ scams.

Nor, sadly, is this the only example of sick scammers looking to profit from the Coronavirus pandemic – here’s a roundup of other scams you should watch out for.

Supermarket voucher scams UK: how to tell if a voucher, coupon or prize is fake

How does this scam work?

Fraudsters claiming to be from Tesco (or 'Tesc0' in the email we've seen) tell the ‘customer’ that they can use these vouchers online or in-store.

Recipients are told that, to qualify, they need to click on the link and enter their details before the end of April. After filling out their details, a voucher will be sent via text or email.

According to Action Fraud, the link leads to a ‘genuine-looking’ phishing website that is designed to steal login credentials and personal and financial information.

When we checked the link included in the scam we received today from a burner laptop on a separate network it didn’t work, so that particular one might have been taken down – but that doesn’t mean scammers haven’t created other phishing sites under different urls.

Below is a screenshot of the scam email we received, which came with the subject line 'Important Notification' (although it's possible there are many variations)

As readers familiar with email scams will recognise, this ticks all the boxes: generic introduction, poor grammar, request for personal info and finally pressure to act fast.

What's more, it didn't even come from a @Tesco email address.

It might not be the most sophisticated email scam we've ever seen, but with people feeling the pinch during the lockdown it's possible that a fair few might be tempted.

Tesco shop for free scam email (Image: loveMONEY)

A Tesco spokesperson has confirmed the above is a scam.

“We have been made aware of an email scam and are working to get this content taken down immediately,” they said.

“We advise anyone who receives this email to delete it and if any customers have already shared their personal details, they should contact their bank immediately and report this to Action Fraud.”

Action Fraud advises that you don’t click on any links or attachments, and never respond to messages that ask for personal or financial information.

How to stay safe

These types of scams are depressingly common, even during a pandemic, as unscrupulous criminals are always trying to trick people into handing over personal details.

As we’ve warned with previous voucher scams a supermarket is highly unlikely to contact you out of the blue offering free stuff.

If you receive this email or any suspicious emails or messages that you are not sure are legitimate, never click on any links or offer any personal details.

Follow the golden rule: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

If you're really unsure or worried about missing out, contact the customer services of the firm in question – just make sure you look up this information separately instead of using anything from the email.

Finally, don’t feel pressured by any claims that there are limited vouchers or that the offer ends soon, as these are tactics scammers use to push you into make a decision without thinking it through.

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