Sadly, I’m afraid it’s not. It’s a variation on the ‘advance fee scam’, which I posted about here, and it’s currently doing the rounds again as a scam text. The scammer’s message says you’ve won £175,000 in a prize promotion called ‘Coke Promo’ and prompts you to click a website link or send an email to claim your prize.
If you respond to the scam text, you’ll be asked for personal information, including your banking details. You’ll then be asked for money to cover the fees involved in claiming your winnings. Needless to say, although I will say it, any money you send will be stolen and you will never receive your prize. You will also be vulnerable to identity theft.
Coca-Cola UK has a good FAQ, which highlights how scam emails and scam text messages ask for personal information and promise a quick financial gain. They will also contain a ‘claim number’ and may look quite official, but are likely to have spelling and grammar mistakes, and will use company trademarks that, on closer inspection, aren’t quite right.
‘It’s the real thing’ is an old Coke advertising slogan from the early 1970s (remember how the final season of Mad Men signed off). Telling the difference between what’s real and what’s fake isn’t always easy. Some of the websites the scammers direct you to look professional and very plausible – at first glance the branding is authentic and they feature photos of what appear to be beaming winners clutching their cheques – so we urgently need to raise awareness of scams like Coke Promo. Get the word out, people.
Sarah Burns is Prizeology’s Chief Prizeologist, an IPM Board Director, and a SCAMbassador for National Trading Standards Scams Team.