Scamwatch: voucher fraud

Jess Bown
Natural beautiful woman using an online internet web coupon on her laptop paying with her Credit Card. Discount shopping Online.
Natural beautiful woman using an online internet web coupon on her laptop paying with her Credit Card. Discount shopping Online.



Stay one step ahead of the fraudsters with our series of articles giving you the lowdown on the scams they use to trick people out of their hard-earned cash - and how to avoid being taken in by them.

This week, we look at voucher scams, which promise money off your purchases but could end up costing you dear.

How does it work?

Voucher scams involve fraudsters sending out online vouchers that promise money off your shopping at certain stores.

All you have to do to claim the discount is to answer an easy question by text or fill in a survey - giving information such as your address and mobile phone number.

But do either of those things, and the criminals behind the scam will either use your personal information to defraud you, or charge you an extortionate amount for the text.

And there will be no discounted shopping at the end of the process.

How can I avoid being caught out?

If you have any doubts about a money off or discount voucher offer, check for news stories and warnings about it.

Supermarket Aldi is currently warning its customers not to be taken in by a fraudulent 40% off voucher doing the rounds.

A post on its Facebook page said: "We have been notified that there is a hoax 40% off Aldi voucher being circulated online. Please be aware that this post is fraudulent and cannot be redeemed in our stores."

Look out too for signs that a voucher may be fraudulent. These include that you have to enter a competition by text to receive it and that you are asked to input personal information to claim the deal.

I've been defrauded. What should I do?

If you are caught out by a voucher text scam, you should ignore any further texts or calls from the supposed store behind it.

Then report the fraud to the store concerned so that it can warn others and take action against the fraudsters.

If you have filled in a survey, meanwhile, you may need to take action yourself to protect against fraud.

If, for example, you have given out information that could compromise your bank account or credit card, you should inform your bank or card provider immediately so that it can secure your account.

It is also a good idea to report the crime to Action Fraud (0300 123 2040).

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