A WhatsApp message promising what everyone could use right now — a free beer — is nothing more than just a dangerous hoax.

A WhatsApp message promising what everyone could use right now — a free beer — is nothing more than just a dangerous hoax.

Beware WhatsApp “Free Beer” Scam to Steal Your Personal Data

This article originally appeared here.

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A WhatsApp message promising what everyone could use right now — a free beer — is nothing more than just a dangerous hoax. If you get the message, which appears to be from the Dutch beer company Heineken N.V., ignore it completely.

The message promises to give you four free kegs of Heineken beer for filling out a survey but it’s just a scam that’s designed to steal your personal information.

There’s a “keg counter” at the top of the message saying how many are supposedly remaining. But don’t be duped as it’s what’s known as a “phishing” attack.

These appear to be genuine and usually ask you to click on a link or fill in some information. At the other end are cyber criminals who will use the information you supply to try and break into your social media or financial accounts.

Heineken itself has dismissed the message as a scam and urged users not to click on the link. The company responded to a user on Twitter who queried whether or not it was genuine.

According to consumer reporters Which?, more than £1.2 billion was lost to scammers in 2019. The researchers say fraud has become one of the most prevalent crimes in the U.K., which often results in devastating consequences for victims.

Screen grab of the phony free beer scam

Screen grab of the phony free beer scam

Gareth Shaw, Head of Money at Which? said: “The coronavirus outbreak has created the perfect storm for scams, with fraudsters using callous tactics to exploit people’s fears and vulnerability for their own financial gain.

“As new scams spring up daily, our alert service aims to help people protect themselves and their loved ones.

“Everyone should be extra cautious about clicking on links in any unsolicited emails and texts or answering calls.

“Make sure your computers, mobile phones and tablets are supported by the latest security updates, and consider installing antivirus software to minimize threats.”

As much as we would like to believe it, nobody is going to be giving us any free beer today.

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