What to do if you get this text message offering you a gift card

Woolworths and Coles have warned customers of a national mobile phone scam, after multiple reports of suspicious text messages being received, claiming to be sent from the retail giants.

Dozens of messages have landed in SMS inboxes claiming to be from Coles or Woolworths, advising the receiver they have won a gift card, and asking them to click a link to claim the prize.

Samantha Payne’s message on Thursday came from a number that appeared to be listed as from “Coles”, so she brought it to the supermarket’s attention.

Woolworths and Coles have warned customers of a national mobile phone scam, after multiple reports of suspicious text messages were received, claiming to be sent from the retail giants. Source: ‎Samantha Payne‎ / Facebook

I received this message from “Coles” today … Now obviously I didn’t go to the link but you ought to know and warn others,” she wrote on the retailer’s Facebook page.

Coles confirmed it didn’t sent the message, which looked like it could be a scam.

“Hi Samantha, thanks for bringing this to our attention,” Coles responded.

“We’re sorry to say that this is likely a scam and has no association with Coles in any way.”

The retailer advised the mother to report the message and any similar texts received to the ACCC Scam Watch 

“We’d also like to remind you to never give out any personal or financial information unless certain that it is safe to do so,” it added.

Contact from Coles on social media should have the blue verified tick next to the name – if it doesn’t, it is not from them. Source: Coles

Coles advised customers to be aware of text messages, phone calls, websites, competitions and other unsolicited contact that use the brand without permission, or which promote Coles Gift Cards or other gift cards in an attempt to appear legitimate, the company said in a statement.

“These offers predominantly attempt to collect your personal details, financial information or request payment for goods or services.

“Coles will never request personal or banking details in unsolicited communications.”

This person received a second message urging him to claim his $500 prize, months after the first one was sent. Source: Aron Mcmaster / Facebook

It also advised the public to be wary if they are encouraged to:

  • Complete a survey that promises a reward only after requesting personal details or financial information;
  • Sharing/Liking a Facebook post in exchange for a gift card/voucher;
  • Calling a specific phone number and providing personal information;
  • Clicking on an email that links with a malicious website;
  • Purchase and provide the redemption code from gift card/vouchers;
  • Access your computer when you have not reported an issue

It also noted that all communication from Coles social media accounts will have a blue verified tick next to the name. If the message does not, it didn’t come from them.

Others have reported receiving similar messages from phone numbers posing as “Woolworths”, promising gift cards if the recipient clicked on a link to “redeem” a prize.

One of the messages claiming to be from “Woolworths”, the retailer confirmed was a scam. Source: Kerry Stringer‎ Facebook

“The message you have received is in no way associated with any Woolworths offers or promotions,” the supermarket responded to a screengrab of one suspicious message, shared to the Woolworths Facebook page on Thursday. 

“We urge you not to open the link or provide any personal or banking details.”

Woolies advised recipients of suspicious messages to forward them to its online security team: hoax@woolworths.com.au so the company can disable the link and report it to the relevant bodies.

“We don’t issue notifications regarding Woolworths giftcard via SMS; our offers are primarily sent through to members’ email address,” it wrote in response to another reported phoney Woolworths SMS.

Another woman became suspicious of the message claiming she was the winner of a $100 Coles gift card. Source:  / Facebook

How do phishing scams work?

Phishing scams are attempts by scammers to trick you into giving out personal information such as your bank account numbers, passwords and credit card numbers, Scam Watch said.

“The scammer asks you to provide or confirm your personal details. Or, they may ask you to fill out a customer survey and offer a prize for participating.

“Phishing messages are designed to look genuine, and often copy the format used by the organisation the scammer is pretending to represent, including their branding and logo.”

Scammers can use your details to carry out fraudulent activities, such as using your credit cards and stealing your money, Scam Watch added.