Did you get an email from the Consumers’ Association offering you a gift card? We didn’t send it. Here’s what to look out for.
Two Which? Members got in touch with us over the holidays about a suspicious email they’d received.
The email offers the chance to play a game and win a £500 Marks and Spencer gift voucher if you click through to the Encashoffers website.
Surprisingly, this email came through from ‘Consumers’ Association’.
Is this an email from Which?
No. This isn’t an email from Which?, or from The Consumers’ Association, the registered UK charity that runs the Which? Group, but we are concerned about the use of our name without our permission.
These emails are coming from the email addresses ‘email@example.com’ and, latterly, ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’. Neither domain has any connection to us, but the senders are using ‘Consumers Association’ as their username.
How to spot a genuine email from Which?
A link within the email takes you through to ‘encashoffers.com’, which boasts competitions with prizes such as iPhones, Apple Watches and even a holiday to Japan. The site states that entrants must answer personal questions in order to enter the competitions.
It failed to respond when we contacted it just before Christmas, and we strongly advise people to avoid giving it any information.
Always be on guard
This is all worryingly reminiscent of a common tactic used by scammers – employing the name of a legitimate business or organisation as their email username, and hoping victims don’t look too closely at the actual email address.
Scammers do this to persuade people to part with valuable personal or banking information, which can be used to steal their money or commit identity theft.
Sadly, no organisation is totally safe from impersonation. Police fraud reporting centre Action Fraud was once cloned on Twitter, and criminals routinely make cold calls claiming to be from the National Crime Agency.
Always be on your guard, and always verify unsolicited contact using trusted contact details, before giving your money or info away.
How to spot a scam email
Scammers will often use a number of tactics to try to fool the recipient, including changing the sender name, imitating official branding, and linking through to fraudulent websites.
Have you received this email, or has another email recently raised your suspicion? Let us know in the comments.