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Thurston Butchers hit by online scam which asked customers to click link and input bank details




The owner of a village butchers shop is urging customers to be careful online after some were targeted by scammers.

Alastair Angus, who has run Thurston Butchers in School Road for around four and a half years, said he found out on Sunday evening that a fake Facebook page had been set up and was contacting those who had entered his shop’s Valentine’s Day meat hamper competition.

He said: “At around 7pm my phone went nuts from customers, colleagues and friends who were messaging to notify me of a strange account and to verify if it was real or not.

Customers have been targeted by scammers who have hijacked a Valentine's Day competition. Pictured: Alastair Angus. Picture by Mark Westley
Customers have been targeted by scammers who have hijacked a Valentine's Day competition. Pictured: Alastair Angus. Picture by Mark Westley

“The first thing I did was get on my computer and found on Facebook a private profile pretending to be us.”

The fake site had contacted participants telling them they had won and asked them to click a link and input their bank details.

Alastair said: “I instantly put a statement out on our social media pages and had about 50 messages, some saying they had already submitted their details.

This is such a complete waste of time for a small business to be chasing scammers. - Alastair Angus

“It’s such a shame that this has been hijacked in this way. We are just a small village butchers trying to do something fun.”

The original fake page has now been taken down, but Alastair said customers had told him that similar pages continued to pop up trying their luck.

He said: “This is such a complete waste of time for a small business to be chasing scammers, it really should be down to social media companies to be on this.”

After putting his statement out, Alastair was contacted by Jamie Towells, who runs Jamie’s Meat Inn in Sudbury, who said he had reported the same scam.

The award winning butchers was targeted by scammers Picture: Mark Bullimore
The award winning butchers was targeted by scammers Picture: Mark Bullimore

Jamie said: “We were not the only butchers to be affected, a few in the area were targeted. We have been affected by this a few times but Facebook does not seem to help.”

Alastair said it would not put him off running similar competitions in the future and he was keeping this one going, but did urge people to look closely at requests and to report any suspicious account.

He said: “It is super important that people remain vigilant online. From my perspective the accounts created are obviously fake, but for new customers who do not know us so well it could be believable.

Alastair is urging customers to be careful and never give out bank details online. Picture by Mark Westley.
Alastair is urging customers to be careful and never give out bank details online. Picture by Mark Westley.

“Do not offer your bank details to anyone online, unless it can be 100 per cent verified. Businesses like mine would never ask for details, so please be careful.”

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