Unilever is warning consumers not to reply to a SMS purporting to be from Omo that indicates they have won money in a competition.
Consumers are prompted to claim their prize using the reference and contact numbers provided and then, to redeem their winnings, are requested to furnish their banking details and to deposit monies into an account that will secure their prize.
Never submit banking details
"Our call centre has been inundated with calls from victims of the scam. Consumers are urged to be vigilant at all times and are encouraged not to act on receipt of such SMS," said Unilever South Africa's marketing director for laundry, Shaadia Vawda.
"The company takes such scams seriously and thorough investigations are being conducted to ensure that perpetrators face the full might of the law. We will never request consumers to deposit money after winning a competition or require a winner to send banking details via SMS."
She said that in the case of any competitions run by the company, its representatives would contact all winners individually and winners would not be expected to pay any administration or transactional fees. OMO has given away prizes over the years to the value of more than R20 million without ever asking for money in return for a prize. Be vigilant
Criminals are using the brand to take money from hard-working South Africans, including pensioners, so the company strongly advises consumers to spread the word to friends and family. The best way to stop the problem is for more people to be aware and vigilant.
The brand has embarked on a radio and a print medium campaign to increase awareness about the scam and remains committed to responsible marketing and advertising. Consumers are advised that all competitions and promotions by the company will always be advertised through appropriate print, media and online channels intended to engage consumers on issues that matter to them.
"Consumers are at the very heart of our business and we will do everything in our power to protect them and safeguard their interests," said Vawda.