March 21, 2012 – Roanoke, VA - Have you received a text message offering you a free Wal-Mart gift card? BBB serving Western VA has a warning that the Wal-Mart gift card text message is a smishing scam.
The text message says - “Wal-Mart $1000 gift card for the first 1000 users to go to LINK REMOVED and enter code 2938.”
Smishing is a relatively new twist on an old scam that capitalizes on the explosive growth in smart phones. A smishing scam is a phishing scam that is sent to you via SMS text to your phone, instead of via email to your computer.
"This smishing scam is using Wal-Mart’s name and popularity in an effort to convince consumers of its validity," said Julie Wheeler, President and CEO of BBB Serving Western VA. “The link you are instructed to click asks for personal information that could be used to steal your identity."
Wal-Mart has posted an alert on their website about the gift card scam at http://walmartstores.com/PrivacySecurity/10840.aspx?p=9620
See a screen shot of a scam message here.
If you receive similar texts or emails, the BBB has this advice:
· Discuss smishing scams with all members of your family who have cell phones, from the youngest to the oldest.
· Do not click on links in text messages or emails offering prizes or ‘free’ products or trial offers.
· Delete any texts or emails that claim you have won a prize or are eligible for a free product.
· Do not provide personal information to claim ‘prizes’ or to sign up for free trials.
· Never give your credit card number, social security number or bank account information to pay for fees, taxes, or shipping costs for anything that you may have ‘won’ or are getting for ‘free’.
· Check your bank statements and credit cards on a regular basis for unauthorized charges.
· Check your and your children’s credit reports with all three credit bureaus annually for any unauthorized credit accounts that have been opened using your social security numbers. You can get a free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com
If you need more information, contact the BBB at (540) 342-3455 or (800) 533-5501. You can also visit www.bbb.org. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/BBB_WesternVA.