Countdown and NetSafe issue warning about email scammers
17 March 2017: Countdown and NetSafe are advising consumers to be vigilant as New Zealanders are being targeted by scam emails.
Countdown is receiving an increase in reports of people receiving scam emails telling them they have won Countdown vouchers ranging from $50 to $2,500, asking people to take part in surveys to win a voucher or even confirming delivery of orders they haven’t placed. The scam emails may include Countdown logos and ask the recipient to provide personal information, click links to claim a prize or open an attachment. The emails differ in appearance and come from a range of addresses, from supposed prize companies to photography businesses.
Countdown strongly encourages consumers not to give out their personal details to anyone proclaiming to be from Countdown and to avoid clicking on suspicious links or attachments in emails.
Countdown’s General Manager of Corporate Affairs, James Walker says if people are unsure whether an email is legitimate they should check the scam warnings page on www.countdown.co.nz.
“Unfortunately there are scammers targeting New Zealanders via email using the Countdown name and branding and we want to warn consumers. If you have received an email that doesn't look like what you'd usually receive from Countdown, comes from an unfamiliar email address or seems too good to be true, then this is likely a scam.”
Businesses like Countdown and other major retailers or airlines are targeted by scammers because they have large customer bases and often run competitions, so the communications can appear plausible.
“The scammers are not associated with Countdown and are not using Countdown data. We take our responsibilities for customer privacy very seriously and no personal details have been passed or leaked to spammers,” adds Mr Walker.
Netsafe’s Director of Outreach, Sean Lyons says there has been an increase in legitimate businesses being used in email scams to make the emails appear trustworthy.
“People are lulled into a false sense of security because the email appears to be from a trusted brand, so they let their guard down,” says Lyons. “Scammers are becoming more sophisticated in their approaches, so it’s important to always make sure that surveys, links and requests for information are coming from a legitimate source.”
How to tell if a Countdown competition is legitimate:
- All Countdown Facebook competitions are on the Countdown Facebook page and all Onecard Competitions are on www.countdown.co.nz so consumers can always check if they are legitimate. Countdown’s official Facebook page has the blue verified tick near the profile logo.
- Countdown does run legitimate customer surveys. These are either run on Countdown’s behalf by inmoment.com and promoted via a countdownlistens.co.nz website link printed on the till receipt shoppers get in store, or customers would have had to agree to join our survey panel at some point.
If consumers have any doubts, they are advised to contact Countdown on 0800 40 40 40 or email email@example.com.
To report a scam to internet safety group NetSafe, either log the incident via its website or call NetSafe on 0508 NETSAFE (0508 638 723).
Scam emails can also be reported to The Department of Internal Affairs’ Electronic Messaging Compliance Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.