Christmas shoppers are being targeted by a sophisticated social media scam, purporting to be from the Homebase CEO Damian McGloughlin offering a ‘free golden envelope containing £500’.
Researchers at the Parliament Street think tank’s cyber team uncovered the scam and issued a public warning on Wednesday 2nd of November via the group’s social media channels.
The scam, the core page of which is still live on Facebook, with CEO golden envelope posts now taken down, begins with a message from man with pierced ears and a short white ‘soul patch’ beard, clutching golden envelopes containing Homebase-branded literature.
The man does not resemble the company’s current CEO Damian McGloughlin, and yet includes the following message: “Hello everyone, we have a Christmas surprise for you all! I’m Damian McGloughlin, CEO of Homebase and on November 28th I’ll be giving these 25 golden envelopes away to 25 people who share and comment. Each golden envelope contains £500 to spend at Homebase.”
Users are requested to share and like the posts with a chance to win prizes, in exchange for handing over their bank details. The latest posts include offers for a free Homebase kitchen.
The dodgy Facebook page, which has been live for several days, has so far attracted over 4,000 likes and hundreds of comments from shoppers seeking to win the free gifts.
Cyber expert Andy Harcup, VP, Absolute Software comments: “With the festive shopping season in full swing, it’s no surprise that fraudsters are looking for new ways to take control of consumers’ confidential personal financial information. Our own research shows that there has been a 104% increase in sensitive data being stored on employer-issued laptops since the pandemic began. With 60% of the UK’s adult population currently working from home during the Coronavirus lockdown, there are huge security risks.”