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.
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.