Tag: Social Networking

Gift Card and Voucher Scams on Facebook

Gift Card and Voucher Scams on Facebook

There is scam going around where you are offered a £300 gift card from ASDA if you comment, like and share with your friends. Similar scams involving Pizza Hut, and Starbucks have also been going around Facebook too.

Once again, scammers are looking for people to share these scams and even enter personal information such as email addresses, etc which get sold on; these email addresses then receive lots of spam (junk) emails. Some of these spammers get commission be sending you to another site. According to the website Naked Security:

If you read the small print on the offers page it becomes clear that the so-called offer of ASDA vouchers have nothing to do with the supermarket at all, and is not officially endorsed. Furthermore, the small print reveals that they plan to share the personal information you share with them with other direct marketers who may use it to email you and send you junk mail in the post.


A few things to do to avoid such scams:

  • Research into the companies who are supposedly offering this gift cards or vouchers, it would mention such as giveaway on their websites. If there is no mention of a giveaway then it will be a scam,
  • £300 gift card is a large amount to give away, it is too good to be true. The usual saying, “if it is too good to be true, it usually isn’t”,
  • Do not enter any personal information that is asked such as name, addresses and other details. These scammers pray on people who are vulnerable, especially during special times of the year where people are looking for expensive gifts, such as the festive season.

If you see this scam being shared by your friends or family, it will appear on your Facebook timeline. Send a warning to your friends to be more vigilant and report the scam to Facebook.

Read more on the website:


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Scam calls that claim to be from Talk Talk

Scam calls that claim to be from Talk Talk


I received a call recently from a man claiming he was from TalkTalk to inform me that they had found errors on my phone line and they would help me fix the problem. It does sound quite convincing since the caller used my name. I let the caller proceed in which he asked me if I was sitting near my computer. I stopped him and explained that he was a scammer and then hung up. I am one of many people who have received these calls recently.

Unfortunately, many people fall victim to the scam because the caller will use the account holders name, address and account number, therefore trying to sound genuine. The scammer will then ask to put a code into your computer which will enable him or her to access your computer remotely. Here is a snippet from a Which? member where the scam cost him £5,000:

After accessing my PC remotely, he said I was entitled to a refund of £200 for the problems I’d had. Using remote access software, he directed me to my Santander online bank account, where it appeared that he had credited £5,000 into my account in error.

The caller told me to send the money back, which I did using MoneyGram. But I have since found out that it was a scam. He had directed me to a copycat website. Is there anything I can do?


TalkTalk are reassuring people that no financial information was taken when customer details were stolen last year. Here is another snippet from the thisismoney.co.uk website:

Luckily, no sensitive financial information, such as bank account numbers, was taken in the latest TalkTalk scandal, but to a conman that does not matter. With convincing patter like this, they will be able to trick their way into the trust of many households.

That’s what happened to 62-year-old Graeme Smith in February. He was duped out of £2,815 by fraudsters who cold-called him and claimed to be from TalkTalk.

Graeme, a semi-retired HR consultant from Chester-le-Street, Co. Durham, was convinced there was a problem with his computer as he had been receiving a lot of spam email.

So when the fraudster called he thought it made sense. The conmen told Graeme they needed to solve a problem with his computer, but that TalkTalk would pay him £250 in compensation for the inconvenience he had suffered. A list of banks appeared on his screen and Graeme was told to select his own.

Somehow the fraudsters managed to get his bank, Santander, to send a password to Graeme’s mobile phone. He was then tricked into handing this over to the fraudsters, who used it to empty his account.

TalkTalk refuses to pay him compensation – though it did waive a £169 charge to leave his contract. Now Graeme plans to take them to court.

‘TalkTalk may not have handed my bank details to the fraudsters, but it’s their fault I was placed in that position at all,’ he says.

Graeme had no idea how the scammers got hold of his details, but he assumes that they were obtained from a previous data breach.


Similar scams where callers claim they are from BT-Internet or from Microsoft Windows are also common and people do fall for them. They claim that there is a problem with your computer and that they will fix it.

They ask you to enter a code into the computer, if you proceed, the scammer can see what is on your computer and even control it; that is a scary thought.

Here is another snippet from the thisismoney.co.uk website that explains how a scammer named David can gain remote access to a computer:

He [David] tells me the information he has about my computer comes from Microsoft Windows: ‘We have been informed by Microsoft that someone is trying to hack your computer.’

He directs me to turn it on and then gives me a series of instructions to get the ‘Start’ menu to pop up.

Things get confusing when I point out I don’t have the operating program Microsoft on my computer because I have an Apple Mac. (Apple uses a different operating system). David is quickly back on track, though, and gets me to open a website, http://www.support.me.

The screen is virtually blank apart from a square grey box in the middle. It says: Support Connection. And in the middle there is space to type in a six-digit code.

It all looks legitimate. But if you type in the code the person on the other end of the line can get access to your computer.

That means from anywhere in the world someone can see exactly what is happening on your screen. They can search through your files, download programs on to your computer to spy on what you’re doing and which keys you press if you do online banking, and put viruses on your computer that will render it useless.

Luckily, they can’t do this unless you give them access, and that can be done only by entering the code into the box. That’s what David wants me to do next.

‘When you bought the computer, there was a six-digit code provided to you. Can you input that code?’ David instructs me.

I rack my brain for the code. Of course, no code exists – it’s just another attempt to win my trust. Who would remember a code from a computer bought years ago?

He’s trying to lower my guard for the next bit when I tell him I can’t remember ever getting a code.

‘It doesn’t matter. I can provide you with one,’ says David – and he reads one out.


Here is a screenshot of the support me website mentioned above:


Once you enter a six digit code, the scammer can take control of your computer to read your files or install viruses or other malware; it is truly scary.

Social Engineering

This scam comes under the term ‘Social Engineering’.

Social engineering can be elaborate and is generally highly convincing, with approaches usually made by somebody you trust or in authority. It is sometimes made more believable by snippets of information which the fraudsters already have about you.

Private individuals and businesses can both be victims of social engineering.

So what can you do to avoid being scammed:

Here are some tips from the Get Safe Online website:

  • Never reveal personal or financial data including usernames, passwords, PINs, or ID numbers
  • Be very careful that people or organisations to whom you are supplying payment card information are genuine, and then never reveal passwords. Remember that a bank or other reputable organisation will never ask you for your password via email or phone call.
  • If you receive a phone call requesting confidential information, verify it is authentic by asking for a full and correct spelling of the person’s name and a call back number.
  • If you are asked by a caller to cut off the call and phone your bank or card provider, call the number on your bank statement or other document from your bank – or on the back of your card – but be sure to use another phone from the one you received the call on. If you cannot access another phone, be sure to hang up for at least five minutes before you dial out, or call a friend (whose voice you recognise) before making another call.
  • Do not open email attachments from unknown sources.
  • Do not readily click on links in emails from unknown sources. Instead, roll your mouse pointer over the link to reveal its true destination, displayed in the bottom left corner of your screen. Beware if this is different from what is displayed in the text of the link from the email.
  • Do not attach external storage devices or insert CD-ROMs/DVD-ROMs into your computer if you are not certain of the source, or just because you are curious about their contents.


Further reading:

Fake “Unsealed” Product Giveaways on Facebook

Fake “Unsealed” Product Giveaways on Facebook

There is a rising trend of fake pages offering phony giveaways appearing on Facebook. These pretend giveaways are quite enticing by using expensive gadgets such as iPhones, iPads, etc. Facebook pages are easy and quick to create, most are genuine however there are a growing number of scam pages. Here are a few ways to spot the scams:

  • Anything that offers expensive high-end gadgets for free, usually if you ‘like’ and ‘share’ the page,
  • Words such as ‘unsealed’ usually appear in the fake promotion of the giveaway,
  • The scams often involve large amounts of the same gadget such as 300 boxes of iPhone 5s and other gadgets,
  • It often asks you to ‘share’ and like a ‘photo’ of the gadget. This then appears on your timeline in Facebook where your friends can then see it and also ‘share’ and ‘like’ it, then their friends ‘share’ and ‘like’ it. The amount of ‘shares’ and ‘likes’ grows exponentially as the fake promotion propagates its way through Facebook.

If you come across any scams like these, report them to Facebook; if many people report the same scam, they may end up being removed.

Why do they do it?

According to the website ‘wafflesatnoon.com’:

The biggest question is why someone would bother running a fake promotion, especially if they aren’t even linking to a website of any kind. From our research, we have found that the most likely reason such fake promotions are created is to simply build up a Facebook page with massive amounts of likes. These pages are then sold, renamed, and all traces of their fake promotions are deleted.


So in other words, it is a way of making money. A page with lots of likes can be sold, renamed and promoted as something else; the likes from the scam remain intact, making the page appear popular. Someone gains profit from selling the page containing all of these ‘likes’ and profits can also be gained via people selling from a ‘popular’ looking Facebook page.

How do I spot a real competition?

  • They are offered by genuine companies,
  • A real competition will have terms and conditions, which are found on the company’s website,
  • The company should provide a link to its website,
  • Some competitions may offer high-end prizes, but they are often given away in small numbers to a select few.

So just to warn you to look out for these scams as they becoming quite common throughout Facebook.

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