The Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) is warning shoppers to be on high alert following a spate of fraudulent supermarket vouchers appearing on social media.
The warning comes after a series of posts by Aldi earlier this week, referring to the vouchers offering £85 gift vouchers as a scam.
A similar hoax voucher surfaced at the same time last year, suggesting scammers are using the run-up to Christmas as an opportunity to target susceptible individuals.
CEO of the SBRC, Mandy Haeburn-Little, is warning shoppers not to register – or risk leaving themselves exposed to the risk of damaging identity theft by handing over sensitive personal information to criminals.
She said: “The public needs to be on guard against vouchers appearing on their social media newsfeeds claiming to offer incredible savings.
“Criminals are constantly devising more complex and devious methods to unlawfully take your information and your savings – which is why fraudulent offers can often appear official, however if an offer looks too good to be true, it more than likely is.
“Be cautious when online, at a time when savings are so often stretched it is especially important that we don’t fall victim and instead take what measures we can to limit risk.”
With the rise of personal information being cultivated by criminal gangs and sold via the Dark Web (an intricate system of private untraceable web servers often used by hacker groups) it is important to be vigilant at all times when using devices that may store any personal information.
It is important to keep your personal and financial information safe when browsing social media. To keep your details safe you need to look out for four things:-
· ‘https://’ at the start of the address bar or a padlock icon. The ‘S’ indicates that it is a secure server and that your information will be safe. Facebook uses this.
· ‘Green Address Bar’ another indicator that some secure websites use is to turn the address bar green.
· Users should also check the page that is sharing any vouchers. Does it look genuine? Is it posting other content from that supermarket i.e Christmas recipes or discounts? If not it may not be the real deal.
· Look out for the blue tick - Facebook and Twitter have a blue tick scheme for verified accounts. This is a handy way to verify that a page is the real deal.
Experts also warn never to use the same password for social media as you do for online banking. Social media passwords are more open to manipulation and could lead to criminals gaining access to other private information held by users.