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A message that is circulating primarily via WhatsApp claims that European brewer Heineken is giving away 4 barrels of beer to celebrate its 140th anniversary.
The message urges you to follow a link to get your free beer. However, the message is not associated with Heineken and those who participate will never receive the promised free beer barrels.
Here’s what the scam message looks like in WhatsApp:
The link opens a fraudulent website that first asks you to fill in a brief and pointless survey about your beer drinking habits and then performs a supposed analysis of your answers to see if you qualify for the prize.
In fact, the analysis is entirely fake and you will be told that you have won the prize regardless of what answers you give. You will be taken to a web page that claims that you have qualified to receive the four barrels of Heineken.
You are then instructed to share the page with 20 WhatsApp friends and then click a “Heineken” link to provide your details.
By stipulating that you must share with 20 friends, the scammers ensure that their fake giveaway message spreads rapidly via WhatsApp, gaining many new victims as it travels.
If you share as instructed and then click the “Heineken” link, you will be taken to various scam websites that try to trick you into supplying your personal information in exchange for the chance to win further prizes.
Your information will be shared with marketing companies who will then inundate you with unwanted phone calls, text messages, emails, and letters.
Heineken is warning Internet users about the scam via its social media channels and the following post on its website:
Phishing Scam Alert: Free Beer Promotion
08-Mar-2018 | 15:41
Please be advised there is currently a ‘Free Beer’ phishing scam circulating through social networks. The promotion states Heineken® is giving away free kegs in celebration of its 140th Anniversary, and encourages recipients to share the message. This is indeed a scam and is not sanctioned by HEINEKEN.
Promotions of this type will always be announced via official Heineken® channels. We do not advise consumers to click on the link, share personal data, or share the message within their networks.
When in doubt, please contact the consumer service hotline in your market.
Note that versions of the scam message may also circulate via Twitter and Facebook. If one of these messages comes your way, do not follow any links that it contains.
For the record, the Heineken company was founded in 1864, so it is not 140 years old in 2018 as claimed in the scam message.