Hyderabad: When the supermarket in the colony is celebrating its 20th anniversary and is conducting an online spin-a-wheel contest to gift free shopping vouchers, who would not give it a try?
And that inclination is what cyber crooks are now targeting, by cheating people in the guise of offers and freebies to customers of local supermarkets or retail chain stores. In the city, several customers of a leading supermarket chain recently got WhatsApp and SMS messages saying their friendly neighbourhood store was celebrating its 20th anniversary and was giving free gift cards to loyal customers.
The message also had a link to a website, clicking on which the user was directed to a website where they would have to spin a wheel to win a gift. The website said only one gift was allowed per IP address, which made most of those who had doubts too fall for the trick. Once the wheel was spun, they were asked to share the message with other users to claim the prize.
The links, police said, were phishing links, with the website itself being a fake one, with the crooks stealing all the personal information that the user unwittingly entered in order to get the free gift.
According to the police, several people, including youngsters, software employees and homemakers too were among the victims, whose data was stolen and in some cases, bank account information too.
One fact that many forgot to check was whether the supermarket was actually celebrating an anniversary, which it was not. The high number of complaints saw the management issuing a clarification that it was not running any such scheme.
Moral of the lesson, according to Cybercrime officials, is that if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably won’t be true. Unknown links, whether it promises the moon or not, should always be a strict NO.
“Creating a fake logo is not a big task these days. So, it is better to avoid all such messages, especially those coming with links. It is also advisable that you refrain from forwarding such messages,” an official said.
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