Consumers are being warned to be vigilant when it comes to receiving a SMS or email message from individuals claiming to be from Coca-Cola, notifying the recipient that he or she has won money in lotteries.
The warning comes from Peninsula Beverage Company (PenBev), local bottler of The Coca-Cola Company's products in the Western Cape. Spokesperson for the company, Denise Green confirms, "The Coca-Cola Company's different brands and trademarks are being used without permission. The Coca-Cola Company is in no way associated with any SMS or emails requesting sensitive information in order to redeem a prize. It would never ask for confidential information such as an identification number or bank account details. We urge the public not to give out any personal details."Fraudulent traits
Phishing fraudsters attempt to develop relationships with victims to obtain personal and financial information. Common signs that a message may be part of an email, SMS or phishing scam include the following:
- Improper or unauthorized use of company trademarks; eg "World Coca-Cola Award Winner", "The Coca-Cola Company Official Prize Notification", "The Coca-Cola Mobile Draw," "2013 Coca-Cola Promotion" or other similar titles;
- Spelling and grammatical errors in the email;
- Sender's use of free, non-corporate email accounts (such as Yahoo!, Gmail, AOL and Hotmail);
- Requests for personal information such as identification numbers or bank account numbers;
- Promise of quick financial gain if such personal data is provided;
- Official appearance including letterhead from a financial institution or the company; and
- Photos of company executives, secret pin codes or reference ticket number with contact information for a Coca-Cola representative
If customers have fallen prey to a phishing scam, the first step is to immediately discontinue all communication with the source and report it to the authorities.