Fake supermarket offer scams thousands

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A fake Woolworths Facebook page offering a “free grocery box” to anyone who commented on its post fooled more than 50,000 unsuspecting Australians in just 10 hours.

The post has been removed by Facebook, a move welcomed by Woolworths, but the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is warning all online shoppers to be extra cautious, particularly over the Christmas-New Year period.

Seven News reports that more than 25,000 people commented on the fake Woolworths scam post in just 10 hours, while 50,000 people shared it with friends and family.

The post used photos of Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci and an array of grocery boxes. It read: “My name is Bradford Banducci and I’m the CEO of Woolworths Inc.

“To celebrate our 100th birthday, every single person who shares and comments in the next 24 hours will get one of the Christmas good box (sic) delivered straight to their door …

“Each food box contains groceries worth $100 and a $75 Woolworths voucher. Limit one Food Box per person.”

Seven News said many shoppers had contacted Woolworths’ official Facebook page to ask if the post was legitimate. However, many others admitted they had fallen for the scam.

“Great thing you’re doing for Aussies after the year we’ve had. Good on you Woolies,” said one.

A Woolworths spokesperson confirmed the supermarket was not affiliated with the post in any way.

“We can confirm that this is not an authorised Woolworths Facebook page and is not affiliated with us in any way,” the spokesperson told 7NEWS.com.au.

“We encourage our customers to be vigilant of online phishing scams, which seek to imitate well-known brands to collect personal information.

“Please note, that Woolworths will never email, message or call you to ask for your personal or financial information including your password, credit card details or account information. Our correspondence will prompt customers to log in to their Woolworths account if we require you to update your personal information.

“We report scams to the ACCC’s Scamwatch and regularly update our Scam Alerts page on our website to help keep customers secure online.

“While it seems harmless enough on the face of it, scams like these are an attempt to collect personal details including where you live. If it sounds too good to be true it often is!”

Woolworths said in a statement that if anyone received any suspicious messaging from the company to please forward it directly to [email protected]

Scamwatch advises:

  • Don’t click on hyperlinks in text/social media messages or emails, even if they appear to come from a trusted source.
  • Never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for personal or financial details – just press delete or hang up.
  • Never provide a stranger remote access to your computer, even if they claim to be from a telco company such as Telstra or the NBN Co.
  • To verify the legitimacy of a contact, find them through an independent source such as a phone book, past bill or online search.

Do you find it difficult to stay one step ahead of scammers? Have you been doing more online shopping in the wake of the pandemic? Does that make you nervous?

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Written by Janelle Ward

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