The Viral Temu Scam: Did You Sell Your Data for £50?

News and information from the Advent IM team.

Hello everyone, here’s a free £50! We’ll just take your personal information in return 🙂

This is what Chinese organisation Temu are doing, and masses of people are falling for it.

Who are Temu?

Temu are an online market place that offer heavily discounted prices for all goods. They originate from China, with their platform functioning through the internet or their mobile app. Similar companies would be Shein (who they’ve been in a lawsuit with) and AliExpress.

They are owned by PDD Holdings, who have been caught out before as they were found to have implemented malware in one of their shopping websites Pinduoduo. Whilst there is no evidence, it is rumoured that they fed this information back to the Chinese Government – as this would be possible under Chinese laws.

What is Temu’s free £50 scheme?

Once you have downloaded and registered for Temu, you can send out an ‘invitation code’ to people. And once your referral signs up to the platform then you will both receive £50…

This has been a hot topic on Twitter in the past few days, as people are posting their referral links, as well as their PayPal transactions (which is how they’re receiving the money).

This is what the Temu links look like on Twitter.

What’s the catch?

The ‘catch’, as many are pointing out, is certainly understated. In return for £50 the user is agreeing to provide Temu with their personal information which includes; likeness, photos, voice, opinions, biographical information, etc.

Is it worth selling your data for £50?

The amount of people falling for this blatant scam is bizarre. This isn’t a simple data breach, where a company could have been more secure – this is the user having a lack of education. Some of the users are happy to share that they know full well what they’re doing as they’re ‘getting a free 50 quid’ for it.

One Twitter user pointed out that Temu could be using people’s personal information to create deep fakes in the future, as this is exactly what the users have *knowingly* signed up for.

The reaction to Temu’s free £50 scheme

Twitter has produced some incredible memes to this situation with mixed reactions on the platform over the past few days.

One user who pointed out the drawbacks to Temu’s referral scheme was met with responses by people who have signed up for it;

‘Tbf pays for my train tickets’

‘Damage has been done, may as well keep going’

However, amongst all the chaos, this was my personal favourite…

This sums up the moral of the story. There is a clear lack of education when it comes to security and people’s personal data – which leads to complacency and situations like this to happen.


To conclude, if money doesn’t grow on trees, it certainly won’t grow from a Chinese company with an extremely questionable background. The reality is that the people who fell for this have signed their lives away all for a free £50 and there is absolutely no going back from it. There are methods they can do to uninstall the app and close their account but that data now belongs to Temu as they already agreed upon that when signing up.

Moving forward, security clearly needs to be taken a lot more seriously than it does, as this sad event has showed the world the lack of care people currently have when it comes to their own personal data. We need to be taking more responsibility for our own privacy. It’s totally normal to question whether something like this is too good to be true, therefore you need to put two and two together sometimes and not fall for the bait. Why would a company that sells you goods need to have access to your camera, microphone or contacts? It is as simple as that.

You can sign up for free education courses to improve your awareness around security, as have I, and in return it will open your eyes to how oblivious you may have been when understanding how much of an impact security actually has in your everyday life.

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