SUR

Guardia Civil warns of fuel scam with claimed discounts of 500 euros at service stations

Cybercriminals trick victims into subscribing to a paid service costing 43.50 euros, automatically charged every 14 days

SUSANA ZAMORA

Spain's Guardia Civil police force has warned of a campaign of fraudulent messages via WhatsApp which claim to come from drinks firm giant Coca Cola in a fuel scam.

Victims are directed to a website and asked to enter personal data to purchase a card worth 500 euros for fuel at Shell service stations, which actually hides a subscription to a service for the amount of 43.50 euros, charged every 14 days.

Spain's Internet Security Office has warned that if you have accessed the link and provided your credit card details, you should contact your bank as soon as possible to inform them of what has happened.

"In addition, we recommend that you remain vigilant and regularly monitor the information published about you on the internet to prevent your private data from being used without your consent," the security office warns.

The Spanish Data Protection Agency provides guidelines for consumers to exercise their rights.

Recommendations to avoid becoming a victim of phishing:

• Do not trust advertisements or chain messages with incredible promotions and read the small print.

• Always keep your computer operating system, applications and software up to date. Check that your antivirus software is active.

• Always use common sense and, if in doubt, consult directly with the company or service involved or with trusted third parties, such as the State Security Forces and Corps (FCSE) and Spain´s Internet Security Office (OSI).

• Type the URL of the service directly into your browser, instead of reaching the website via links available from third-party websites, in emails or text messages.

• Do not provide your personal details (telephone number, name, surname, address or e-mail address) or bank details on any page. Inform yourself beforehand and read the legal texts on the website to rule out any possible misuse of your data.

• Be wary of online promotions that require you to provide personal and banking information.

• In the event of accessing a service from its application, check that you have installed the legitimate application and that the permissions provided are appropriate.