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Online Makeup Retailer Called Out for Promo That Looks Like Account Hack

We don't want discounts at the expense of identify fraud, thanks.

A woman applying make up to her face for her clown costume.

U.K.-based beauty retailer Beauty Bay has been called out by shoppers on social media for sending out a notification that appeared to tell the recipient that their account had been hacked.

On Monday (May 22), customers said they received a message from the app that read “Unrecognised log-in attempt” with gear emoji. It told people to click on it “for your recovery password.” The link then reportedly took them to a page that read “HACKED15 APPLIED” and told customers that there was a minimum required to spend before they could get a discount.

As someone who has used Beauty Bay for a long time now, I’m really disappointed in finding this out. As others have wondered: How the hell did this get signed off as a fun little notification? Sure, doing something about the arrival of summer or Christmas makes sense; they sell sunscreen, and makeup can make a great gift, but to launch a promotion by making your customers think they’ve been hacked? That’s pushing it a bit too far.

People who have their notifications switched on for the retailer said that receiving the message was “anxiety-inducing” and have pointed out that it wasn’t cute or quirky. As someone wrote, “Identity theft isn’t a joke.”

You may have never heard of them before, but that doesn’t mean that they’re new. Beauty Bay has been around since 1999 and started as a fragrance brand before branching out into other areas of the beauty industry (namely makeup and skincare). They have also been doing promotional notifications and deals for a while now, too, so you would hope they would know better than to do something like this.

This won’t help their sales, either. People don’t like being openly manipulated into clicking on a message out of fear, and their sales had already dropped as pandemic restrictions were lifted, which might explain such a desperate bait and switch. It was reported that their revenue was down from £134 million to £93 million (though this is still better than before the pandemic, when their revenue was £83 million).

(featured image: sdominick/Getty Images)

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Brooke Pollock is a UK-based entertainment journalist who talks incessantly about her thoughts on pop culture. She can often be found with her headphones on listening to an array of music, scrolling through social media, at the cinema with a large popcorn, or laying in bed as she binges the latest TV releases. She has almost a year of experience and her core beat is digital culture.