Explained: Temu is going viral for giving people free money – but there’s one scary catch

Okay but this is kinda terrifying

If you’ve spent any time on Twitter at all over the last few days then you’ve absolutely been bombarded by people begging you to click their dodgy-looking link for you both to get free money.

And it’s all coming from Temu, a Chinese shopping app that sells super cheap products globally. As part of its cash reward scheme, you can win up to £50 in free cash via PayPal just for signing up and putting in your personal details. But you’re probably wondering how it all works, whether it’s a scam and whether the whole thing is just too good to be true. So here’s the Temu free money scheme, explained:

So how does the Temu free money work?

All you have to do is download the Temu app and register, you then send out an “invitation code” to other people. The giveaway then claims that once you both sign up you each get £50 via PayPal. The links you’re undoubtedly seeing all over Twitter look like this:

People have been posting screenshots of the money going into their PayPal account so you and others have claimed they’ve managed to get thousands of pounds worth of free money just for sharing their link. So you do actually get the money once other people click your link.

Temu free money scam

Via instagram

But hidden in the top corner of the signup page are the rules of the giveaway and it turns out the money isn’t as free as you think it is and that there’s a bit of a catch.

Is the Temu free money giveaway a scam?

So the “free money” you’re signing up for actually has a scary catch involved in that you’re essentially signing away your “likeness, voice and opinions” as well as your photos and other biographical information for Temu to use however it likes. The company is basically paying you for all your personal data. People have suggested this also means they can create deepfake videos of you.

The full policy reads: “Except to the extent prohibited by applicable law, participation in the Program and/or receipt or use of Rewards constitutes a Member’s consent for Sponsor to use and publish such Member’s photo, name likeness, voice, opinions, statements, biographical information, and/or hometown and state for promotional or advertising purposes in any media worldwide, now known or hereafter developed, in perpetuity without further review, notification, payment, or consideration.”

All this data can then be shared with third parties and other companies as outlined in Temu’s Privacy Policy which reads: “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.”

The terms and conditions also state that Temu can “cancel, change, suspend, or modify any aspect of the Program at any time, including, without limitation, the availability of any Rewards or other benefits without notice.” So you may sign up for a Temu account and get all your friends to do the same without actually getting any money.


You also only have 24 hours from signing up and getting enough people for you to get the money at all. Temu can also decide to not give you money directly into your bank account via PayPal, but give it to you in Temu credits to use on their website: “Sponsor reserves the right to substitute a Reward of equal or greater value, e.g. Temu credits, at any time in its sole discretion, including, without limitation, when a reward is no longer available.”

How do I delete my Temu account?

Deleting your account is actually pretty straightforward. You can read all the steps on how to here.

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.”

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