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Thetford Garden Centre's Mother's Day competition hit by scammers




The general manager of Thetford Garden Centre said he was shocked after a Mother’s Day competition they set up online was targeted by scammers just three hours after going live.

What was happening became apparent to Julian Chittock on February 18 when he started to have customers calling up the Kilverstone site and messaging on social media asking when they could pick up their celebratory afternoon tea for two.

He said: “The post went up at 9am that day and we were getting loads of messages and phone calls by about 12.40.

General manager Julian Chittock with the competition that was targeted by online scammers Picture by Mark Westley
General manager Julian Chittock with the competition that was targeted by online scammers Picture by Mark Westley

“It did put us into a panic for a minute but then we started to organise, telling the people that contacted us that it was a scam and also getting the message out on Facebook and Instagram not to trust it.”

The garden centre’s competition to win the prize asked them to like and share one of its posts and the scammers had set up a fake page, based on and using images from the centre’s website homepage.

They contacted people who had taken part and told them to fill out a form through a link to gain details on them.

Julian said: “The competition was well intentioned with a genuine prize which had more than 1,000 people getting involved, so it has been positive in that way.

“But it is such a shame that it may have put a sour taste in mouths of those people who thought they had won but found out it was a scam. There are just some unscrupulous people out there.”