• A WhatsApp message promising a nearly R3,000 voucher from Spar "in honor of Black Friday" appears to be picking up steam.
  • Spar is not involved, and there are no vouchers.
  • Instead the campaign convinces people to attract others to a website that then serves up dodgy advertising.

UPDATE: Following Black Friday this scam was altered slightly, with a new message that reads:

*SPAR* is celebrating its 55th anniversary and giving away the free vouchers worth *3.500,00 R*. *I just received mine free voucher* http://bit.ly/SPAR-anniversary

That shortened URL redirects to the web page http://5ack.com/spar, which operates in the same fashion described below. The "survey" is still fake, the intent is still to direct unsuspecting users to dodgy advertising – and there is still no voucher.

Spar is not giving away vouchers worth R2,999 each for Black Friday, the retail group confirmed on Tuesday, as messages promising just that spread rapidly across WhatsApp.

A typical message – of which Business Insider South Africa received dozens of copies on Tuesday – reads:

*SPAR* in honor of "Black Friday" in November, is giving away the free coupons worth R2999.
I just received my coupon  

The message refers users to the website lupx.info/spar, a poor fake of Spar's mobile website. There users are encouraged to take a short survey, which is also fake, before being told to send the WhatsApp message on to their contacts in turn.

See also: Twitter is struggling to curb fake Elon Musk accounts promoting cryptocurrency scams

The only thing they get for their trouble is an automatic redirect to an advertising network that attempts to hijack the browser homepage, which in turn serves up advertising pages for a variety of scams and dubious products.

Anecdotal data suggests the message started to spread in South Africa on Friday, but started to pick up steam this week.

Spar posted this warning about the scam on Facebook on Monday:

Receive a single WhatsApp every morning with all our latest news: click here.

Also from Business Insider South Africa: