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Sainsbury’s Bank insurance spam scam causes confusion

Unexpected items in the inbox area

Numerous UK surfers were left confused on Monday after receiving email confirmations for insurance products with Sainsbury’s Bank that they never bought.

People are receiving emails claiming they have started new policies for travel, home and car insurance from the UK supermarket giant’s banking business. El Reg learnt of the curious emails from three readers, one of who said that the emails were sent to his parents. “They haven’t been customer[s] for years,” he added.

El Reg has seen a copy of one of the dodgy emails and the branding looks convincing but there’s no mention of the amount supposedly paid or details of the cover. It’s basically a “Thank you” note.

The curious spam campaign has prompted at least a dozen separate reports on social media on Monday. The people behind the official Sainsbury’s Twitter profile have responded with requests for more information.

PR representatives of Sainsbury’s Bank have yet to respond to our requests for comment. However the lack of any obvious attempt to request info in the sample spam we’ve seen would suggest some kind of internal snafu is the most likely explanation, rather than a phishing campaign. If fraudsters were behind the spam run surely they wouldn’t have chosen to frame it in the context of a “thank you” email, unless they are being unusually subtle.

An apology email from Sainsbury’s Bank forwarded to us by one of the recipients late on Monday provides solid evidence for the cock-up theory.

You may have received an email from Sainsbury's Bank today about a product you don't have with us.

Please don't worry, this email should not have been sent to you.

We're sorry for any concern or confusion caused.

And an update from Sainsbury’s official customer Twitter account confirms the supermarket giant was responsible for the unexpected items in users’ inboxes.

We’re guessing either some kind of test exercise by marketing staff using real customer emails addresses or a mistake by a third-party is behind the slip-up. ®

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