The Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) is warning shoppers to be on high alert following a spate of fake supermarket vouchers appearing on social media.
It follows a series of posts by Aldi earlier this week alerting shoppers to the scam, which offers £85 gift vouchers in return for personal details.
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.
Mandy Haeburn-Little, CEO of the SBRC, is warning shoppers not to register otherwise they risk leaving themselves open to 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.”
There are four things to look out for to keep personal and financial information safe while browsing online:-
·‘https://’ at the start of the address bar or a padlock icon. The ‘S’ indicates that it is a secure server and that 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 to find out if it looks genuine. If it is not posting other content from that supermarket or business, such as Christmas recipes or discounts, then it may not be.
·Look out for the blue tick - Facebook and Twitter have a blue tick scheme for verified accounts.
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.