M&S Boss Spoofed in Gift Voucher Scam

Criminals are impersonating the boss of a major British multinational retailer to trick victims into sharing their bank account details.

Posing as Marks & Spencer CEO Steve Rowe, the scammers have posted fraudulent adverts online that promise victims the chance to win a gift voucher as part of a fictitious prize draw promotion. 

When victims click on the link in the ad, they are taken to an M&S-branded portal and asked to provide their name, address, mobile phone number, and bank details including SORT code and account number.

The fraudulent adverts, uncovered by the Parliament Street think tank’s cyber-research team, have been uploaded to social networking site Facebook from an unverified page entitled “Marks and Spencer Store.”

The adverts depict a man who bears no resemblance to the real Steve Rowe clutching M&S-branded shopping bags accompanied by the message, “Hello everyone, my name is Steve Rowe and I am the CEO of Marks and Spencer! I’ve an announcement to make – To celebrate our 135th Anniversary, We are giving EVERYONE who shares & then comments by 11.59pm tonight one of these mystery bags containing a £35 M&S voucher plus goodies! Make sure you enter here [URL].”

Those who know their retail history will easily be able to spot that the advert is fake as Marks and Spencer was in fact formed in 1884 when Michael Marks, a Polish refugee, opened a market stall in Leeds, with the slogan "Don't ask the price, it's a penny." In 1894, Marks went into partnership with Thomas Spencer, a former cashier from the wholesale company Dewhirst.

"As we head into the busy shopping season, we can only expect to see more of these types of 'sale' scams emerge online," commented Tessian CEO Tim Sadler. "Treat these posts just like you would any phishing email; ask yourself if this deal seems legitimate and verify the identity of the person requesting you to take an action, before clicking on any links. 

"And if you're still unsure, visit the retailer's website and official social media channels to cross-check that the deal has been mentioned elsewhere."

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