Scam of the day – December 6, 2012 – Gift card scam followup

On November 26, 2012 I warned you about a gift card scam by which you reeive a text message informing you that you have won a gift card worth $1,000 or more from Target, Best Buy, Apple or WalMart.  Other companies’ names are also being misused, but these are the major companies that are presently being used to lure unsuspecting victims into clicking on a link in the email which takes them to websites where they fill in the requested information and promptly become in danger of becoming a victim of identity theft through the misuse of the personal information provided.  I am writing about this scam now because it appears to be increasing in frequencey as the holiday shopping season gets into full swing.  I also want to provide you with some additional tips on how to deal with this scam.

TIPS

My first tip is the same as always.  Don’t click on any link in  a text message or email unless you are absolutely sure that it is legitimate.  In any communication that purports to be from a business, you cannot be sure that the message and email is legitimate.  Scammers and identity thieves can make their messages and email look very official.  The risk of clicking on a link from a scammer is too great to take the chance .  In addition to luring you into providing information that can be used against you that leads to your becoming a victim of identity theft, clicking on the link may also cause a keystroke logging malware program to be downloaded on to your computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone that can steal all of the information from your device and lead to your becoming a victim of an even more devastating identity theft.  If you have any thought that the message might be legitimate, call the company at a telephone number that you know is correct to find out if the message or email you received was a scam.   Do not respond to the text by declining the message or asking to be taken off of their list because all this does is alert the identity thief that your address is active.  If you do receive such an email, forward the message to your phone service provider by sending it to 7726 on your keypad.  This spells out “Spam” and your provider will block future messages from that number.

Scam of the day – November 26, 2012 – Target gift card scam

Many scams are now coming to people via text messages on their smartphones.  One of the latest involves a text message that informs you that you have won a gift card.  Variations of the scam have involved phony gift cards from Target, Best Buy, Apple and WalMart although you should be alert if you receive a text message that informs you of winning a gift card from any company.  The text message contains a link that you must click on  which is supposed to take you to a website where you must fill out a form with personal information in order to have the gift card processed and sent to you.  Don’t do it.  You won’t receive a gift card, but you will provide information to a scammer that will enable him or her to make you a victim of identity theft if you click on the link and provide the requested information.

TIPS

It is important to remember that it is hard enough to win a contest that you have entered.  It is impossible to win a contest that you have not even entered.  Never click on links in emails regardless of from whom they come unless you are sure they are legitimate.  Getting an email or text message that purports to be from a legitimate company does not mean that the message or email is indeed from the company.  It could be from a scammer.  Never provide personal information to anyone on line unless it is absolutely necessary and you are convinced that it is legitimate.  In this case, contact by phone at a number that you know is accurate the company awarding the contest prize for the contest you did not enter and confirm that it is a scam.