Stores warn of text offers that will cost you

TULSA - Many people are receiving a text claiming they won a $1,000 gift card from Best Buy, Walmart or another large retailer.

You're prompted to go to a website and enter a code to claim it.

Kathi sent us the text she received wondering if it could be the real deal.

It is not.

                Best Buy has a warning on its Web site offering people this information:

Gift Card Offer Scams

What the scam is: A website advertisement, email or text message that offers a high-value gift card.

How the scam works: The scam directs consumers to a website that requires them to make purchases,
provide personal information, and/or fulfill other conditions in order to receive the gift card.
Once the conditions are met, the consumer may never receive
the gift card or may have spent more than the value of the gift card.

Phishing Scam

What the scam is: A valid-looking e-mail, website or other online message that directs consumers to a
legitimate-appearing website that requests account information and/or other confidential information.
Phishing messages often indicate that a consumer's account has been frozen or jeopardized and that
the consumer must provide immediate information.

How the scam works: Once confidential information is obtained, identity theft and other forms of theft can occur.

Smishing Scams

What the scam is: Similar to a Phishing scam, but in this situation, consumers receive a text in order to carry out the scam.

Note: A gift card offer may also be the subject of Phishing and Smishing messages.

How to Protect Yourself

Gift Card Offer Scam

  • Don't respond to e-mails, text messages or online ads offering free gift cards unless you are expecting this communication from a company.
  • Make sure the website address and branding match up with the company referenced in the offer.

Phishing/Smishing Scams

  • Contact organizations only through trusted channels.
  • Beware of e-mails and texts that have you "verify" personal information online. Most legitimate companies will never request personal information in this manner including Best Buy.
  • Scammers may attempt create a feeling of panic — don't rush to respond to or follow the dictates of suspicious e-mails.
  • Don't click on links or cut and paste links from questionable e-mail and text messages and websites.
  • Read the terms and conditions of offers — they often require that consumers take inappropriate or unreasonable actions.
  • URL-checker software and other software is available that can protect against phishing scams.
  • Report the fraudulent text to your mobile provider

                   The Better Business Bureau offers this information on prevention and reporting:

What Can I Do About Scam Text Messages:     

  • Ignore instructions to text "STOP" or "NO" to prevent future texts. This is a common ploy by scammers to confirm they have a real, active phone number. 
  • Forward the texts to 7726 (SPAM on most keypads). This will alert your cell phone carrier to block future texts from those numbers.
Print this article Back to Top