WHATSAPP users are being urged to be on alert for a new scam that could steal their bank details ahead of Father's Day.
Users of the popular messaging app are being warned to be vigilant about messages promising free beer which could steal your personal information.
What is the Heineken Whatsapp scam?
The Heineken beer Father’s Day scam is a message you might receive on Whatsapp offering you the chance to win free booze.
The text claims you’ll be given the chance to win a free crate of beer in time for Father’s Day if you click a link.
The link is a tinyurl, which is a shortened link so you can't see which website you are going to be taken to.
The message may vary, but The Sun has seen texts reading: "5,000 coolers full of Heineken for your dad".
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But when you click the link, you're taking to a phishing page or other malicious website which could steal your personal details and leave you at risk of fraud.
Phishing or malicious websites may steal personal information and account credentials.
The scam was raised by Onlinethreatalerts, a website known for tracking internet scams.
It warned that trick was "circulating on social media like wildfire".
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The group posted a screenshot of the scam, showing an 18-bottle “cooler pack” of Heineken, claiming 5,000 crates are going to be given away.
Users who follow the link are asked to share 20 contacts and enter their address for delivery.
Heineken responded to the reports on Twitter, stating: “This is a scam.”
It said: "Please don't click on links or forward any messages. Many thanks."
How can I avoid it?
Fraudsters are clever and it's often difficult to spot scams – especially if they're offering up an exciting prize.
But you should be wary of any messages out of the blue – particularly if they're offering freebies.
Be suspicious of any phone number or website asking you for personal information.
Martyn James of Resolver said: "Because people associate WhatsApp with encrypted messages, they don't always realise that fraudsters are lurking on the app in plain sight.
"Even if a message comes from a friend or family member with a link to a free offer – never click it.
It's even possible to "spoof" messages from people you know, he added, meaning fraudsters can pose as friends, family or even your bank.
So if a message looks strange – it's best to err on the side of caution.
Action Fraud said there are some simple steps you should take to stay safe from fraud.
- Stop: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or your information could keep you safe.
- Challenge: Could it be fake? It's okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
- Protect: If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud online at actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040. In Scotland, call Police Scotland on 101.
What should I do if I think I've been scammed?
If you think you've been scammed, try not to panic.
Depending on what information you've given away, you can take steps such as changing your online account passwords or cancelling your bank card to try and mitigate any damage.
Martyn said: "If you've clicked on a link and given personal details then change your passwords on all your accounts as soon as possible.
"You can get a password manager system to help you with this in future too.
"If you've handed over bank details then contact your bank immediately. They have a range of options from monitoring your account to giving you new cards and numbers."
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New scams are being developed all the time, and some of the most common ones include romance scams and fraudsters impersonating police or bank staff.
UK Finance has even warned that fraud is now so commonplace that it poses a national security threat.
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