WHATSAPP users are being warned about a scam message dressed up as a contest that’s spreading “like wildfire” across the platform.
The phoney competition offers people the chance to win a free crate of beer in time for Father’s Day.
Recipients are encouraged to tap on a link to enter the draw. That link instead takes them to a phishing page or other malicious website.
The cybercrime campaign was highlighted by onlinethreatalerts, a website that tracks internet scams.
They wrote: “The Heineken Whatsapp scam, which claims to be giving away free Heinekens, is circulating on social media like wildfire.
“Recipients are asked not to follow the instructions in it.
“The scam tricks potential victims into visiting phishing, spam, and malicious websites that steal personal information, and account credentials.
“The scam may also trick potential victims into signing up for unwanted services.”
The offer typically appears as a WhatsApp message from a contact, such as a friend or family member, in the form of a link.
That link appears alongside an image of an 18-bottle “cooler pack” of Heineken and a message claiming that 5,000 crates are up for grabs.
Users who click on the link are asked to share the competition with up to 20 contacts before filling in their delivery details.
They’re tricked into visiting phishing and malicious websites that could steal personal information and account credentials.
“If the link in the fake post is clicked, potential victims will be taken to the fraudulent website,” onlinethreatalerts said.
“The website is being used in phishing and scamming campaigns which are set up by cybercriminals.”
Heineken confirmed that the competition was fake and warned fans not to click on any links sent to them.
Responding to a message on Twitter asking the company to verify the legitimacy of the contest, Heineken wrote: “This is a scam.”
The company added: “Please don’t click on links or forward any messages. Many thanks.”
It’s not the first time that the Heineken cooler scam has done the rounds on social media.
A similar phoney contest circulated in 2020 offering people the chance to win “free kegs of Heineken beer”.
That led to the company releasing a statement that warned people not to fall for the phishing scam.
If you’re worried that you might have fallen for a financial scam, the first thing you should do is contact your bank.
You should then report it to ActionFraud. Their website is actionfraud.police.uk, and their phone number is 0300 123 2040.
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