Woolworths warns customers about alarming scam: ‘Beware’

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·News Reporter
·4-min read
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Woolworths customers are being warned about a dangerous email scam that is currently circulating which could steal their personal information.

A concerned Woolworths customer shared the email he received online, which claims to be from the supermarket, on the retailer's Facebook page.

“I got this email today,” wrote the shopper in his post, alongside a screenshot of the fake email.

The fraudulent email, which is addressed from the “Fresh Food People”, offers to help customers with a previously unanswered support case and urges them to click a link for compensation.

Screenshot of fake Woolworths phishing email urging customers to click link.
The Woolworths phishing email urges customers to click a link to redeem their compensation. Source: Facebook

“It has recently come to my attention that your support case from one year ago (24.11.2020) has gone unanswered because of a system error,” reads the fake email.

It continues: “I immediately sent my superior, Richard, an email and explained that you made a complaint at the service desk of the store, but that the exact details were also lost.”

The fraudsters go on to say that they can see something was wrong with a purchased item and they were previously unable to return or exchange it.

Hacker sits at laptop wearing a black hood.
The email urges shoppers to check their 'compensation code' to receive a refund for the mystery item. Source: Getty Images

“This is against store policy, so we have decided that we will compensate you with a voucher. The value is obviously quite high because the matter took so long to solve,” reads the fake email.

“But you don’t need to worry about that, it’s our pleasure because we value you as a customer.”

The email then urges shoppers to check their “compensation code” to receive a refund for the mystery item by clicking a link.

Woolworths confirms email is a phishing scam

However, a quick glance at the sender’s email address confirms it was not sent by the official Woolworths email and is a phishing scam.

Phishing scams are a way that cybercriminals steal personal information, such as online banking logins, credit card details, passwords and login credentials by sending deceptive emails such as this one.

These emails often look legitimate, which is why even the most technologically savvy people can sometimes fall prey to them.

Mobile phone shows Woolworths logo with tech background.
Woolworths warned customers that scammers are attempting to trick them into giving them sensitive information. Source: Getty Images

A Woolworths representative quickly responded to the skeptical shopper to confirm the email was indeed a scam.

“Please know that the email is a 'phishing' scam and not from us. It's actually a scammer who's attempting to trick people into giving out their personal and banking information,” wrote Woolworths.

Woolworths advised the man to visit Scamwatch, which is run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and provides information on scams, and how to recognise, avoid and report them.

Woolworths concluded: “Be mindful that we'd never ask our customers for their personal or banking details in unsolicited communications.”

‘Think before you click’: Woolworths warns customers

Woolworths has warned customers on the Scam Alert page on their website that they should be suspicious of any emails that create a sense of urgency, contain unrelated links and attachments, request sensitive information or are from people who don’t usually contact you.

“Scammers have become more prolific with new scams popping up each day. Customers are requested to remain alert and report anything that may look suspicious. If it sounds too good to be true it often is!” reads the Scam Alert page.

On the page, Woolworths urges shoppers to “think before you click and do not give away any information that can be identifiable to you”, while providing examples of recent scams targeting customers.

One of the most recent email phishing scams circulating online involves a fake email claiming the customer has been nominated for a special “anniversary code”. The email lures customers to click the link to check their code.

Meanwhile, other scams include SMS, phone calls and social media scams that encourage shoppers to share, comment or like a post to receive a free grocery box delivered to their door in order to steal their personal details, such as name and address.

Woolworths urges customers to forward any suspicious messages directly to hoax@woolworths.com.au and delete it from their mailbox.

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