Is the Temu cash reward legit? Warning over personal data

The giveaway claims to give individuals free cash’, but is it too good to be true? (Florence Lo / Reuters)
The giveaway claims to give individuals free cash’, but is it too good to be true? (Florence Lo / Reuters)

Chinese online marketplace Temu is running a giveaway offering users "free money" in exchange for new sign-ups.

The giveaway has gone viral on X, ​​but users are concerned about whether the giveaway is too good to be true.

“Surely something dodgy behind this whole temu can a company give away free money like that,” one user tweeted.

Another said: “I'd advise against signing up until the way Temu uses and sells data is secured, personally.”

The Times previously reported that Temu has been accused of using malware in its app to harvest the data of users. Its parent company, Pinduoduo, was also removed from the Google Play store after being found to contain malware, with the US government warning of the data risks.

What is the cash reward?

The giveaway claims to give individuals “free cash”, as long as they download the Temu app, register and then send out an "invitation code" to others. The giveaway claims that once both individuals sign up, they both receive £50 in their PayPal.

Do you have to hand over personal data?

Yes, technically. The competition's own terms state that individuals who take part in the giveaway are handing over large amounts of personal information in doing so, for advertising or promotional purposes:

The rules in the 'Cash Reward' promotion state users agree to give Temu permission to use their “photo, name likeness, voice, opinions, statements, biographical information, and/or hometown and state' worldwide…without further review, notification, payment, or consideration”.

This data can also be shared to third parties, inline with Temu's Privacy Policy, which acknowledges that under certain laws, this can be seen as “selling” your data: “Certain of these disclosures to third parties are known as 'sharing' or processing your personal information for targeted ads and but 'sharing' may be considered 'selling' your personal information under applicable law”.

Promoters must also give people the opportunity to “object to their information being published or made available, or to reduce the amount of information published or made available”.

MailOnline asked Temu if this extends to the data shared under the cash giveaway's terms and conditions in line with UK rules.

A Temu spokesperson said: “Temu gathers user information solely for the purpose of delivering our service and to enhance customer experience. We do not sell user information.

“The terms and conditions highlighted are commonplace in similar promotions held by various companies across different sectors.”

Experts at Which? have warned that, unless you closely analyse the fine print of a privacy policy, it's very difficult to know exactly what will be done with your data when you hand it over to apps and websites.

They recommend taking the following simple steps to get a better handle on your data when using Temu or any other shopping app.

  • Be aware of the permissions it’s requesting. Apps need access to certain aspects to work, but sometimes they go too far. Check what permissions an app wants before you download it and deny access in your phone settings if you like.

  • Some data collection is optional during setup, and that means you can opt out. Only share what you’re comfortable with.

  • Read the privacy policy – especially the data section.