Scam alert! Have you been the victim of fake social media pages?
Warnings have been issued regarding fake branded pages that crooks are using to steal personal information from unwitting members of the public.
The scam involves a fake brand page, which looks genuine and has tens of thousands of likes, offering free items, vouchers or food from the CEO of the company as a “goodwill gesture” as Christmas approaches.
The crooks will then send a DM (direct message) to customers who have commented and shared the post asking them to sign up with their personal information to receive a voucher which is ultimately fake.
One of the bogus pages was for the Toby Carvery restaurant chain. A spokesperson for the company said: “Unfortunately, there has been an upsurge in bogus Facebook pages created for the primary purpose of collecting contact details and payment details from people.”
Similar scams have been reported involving Wagamama and Primark.
Advice Direct Scotland (ADS), which runs Scotland’s national consumer advice service, consumeradvice.scot, has urged Scots to be careful.
Anyone who has been the victim of a scam or is concerned about suspicious activity can contact consumeradvice.scot advisers for free advice on 0808 164 6000 (Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or visit www.consumeradvice. scot.
The organization reminded consumers to be careful of everyone:
- Asking you to make upfront payments, especially if it is releasing funds for a loan or cash prize.
- You have never heard of it or have dealt with in the past. For example, you won a contest you don’t remember entering, or you owe money to a business you haven’t heard of.
- Asking for personal information – like your bank details, passwords or PIN codes, legitimate businesses would never ask for this type of information.
- Push you to sell.
If you’ve been contacted by someone and you are concerned that they are trying to rip you off:
- Don’t send them money or buy anything – you should always do your homework before agreeing to anything. For example, checking the company’s online reviews.
- Do not give them personal information, bank details, passwords or PIN codes. If you have provided this type of information, you should change all passwords and PINs and notify your bank.
- Do not download any attachments or files in the emails and do not click on any links. If so, you should check that your device security is up to date and run a virus scan.
- Do not call any number you have received in an email or letter, especially if it is a premium rate number. If you are unsure of the cost of dialing a particular number, contact your service provider for advice.
Marjorie Gibson, Operations Manager at ADS, said: “As a general rule, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is – and it’s always worth the extra caution just to be sure. . This particular scam is an attempt to collect contact and payment information from people.
“Always be wary of anyone who asks for personal information – like your bank details, passwords or PINs – because legitimate businesses would never ask for this type of information. But scammers are very persuasive and convincing, so anyone in Scotland who is concerned should contact our advisers for free, unbiased and practical advice. “
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