Heineken caught up in free beer WhatsApp scam

Authorities have warned users of mobile messaging platform WhatsApp about a phishing scam which claims that Dutch brewer Heineken is giving away four 5-litre barrels of beer to celebrate ‘its 140th anniversary’.

A message doing the rounds on WhatsApp is claiming that Heineken is giving away free beer as part of its celebrations.

Not only is the message a phishing scam, but Heineken is also not celebrating its 140th anniversary. The company was founded in 15 February 1864 by Gerard Adriaan Heineken, making it 154 years old, not 140.

The fraudulent message instructs the reader to click on a link to get a free beer. The link then opens a website which asks you to fill out a survey on your drinking habits to determine whether you will receive the prize.

It appears, however, that regardless of the answers you submit, the website will claim that you’ve won free beer. The site instructs you to share the page with 20 WhatsApp friends and then click on a link to provide your details.

Heineken has warned users of the scam, and has posted the following guidance on its website: “Please be advised there is currently a ‘Free Beer’ phishing scam circulating through social networks. The promotion states Heineken® is giving away free kegs in celebration of its 140th Anniversary, and encourages recipients to share the message. This is indeed a scam and is not sanctioned by Heineken.

“Promotions of this type will always be announced via official Heineken® channels. We do not advise consumers to click on the link, share personal data, or share the message within their networks.

“When in doubt, please contact the consumer service hotline in your market”.

The are reports of the message also circulating on social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook.

Dyfed–Powys Police warned residents on social media against clicking on the link.

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