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Beware Texts About Fake Gift Cards

A local consumer protection office offers advice to a Warrington man who got a text claiming that he had won a $1,000 gift card.

Q.      I have been holiday shopping at various locations ever since Black Friday. It has been a hectic few weeks but I am close to finishing up getting all the items on my list.

Then yesterday I received a text message on my cell phone from Best Buy letting me know I had won a $1,000 gift card! What great news; just in time for the holidays!

The text directed me to follow the link to their Web site in order to enter the code number that was included in the text message. I have not done this yet because, when I shared the text with my wife, she said it was a scam and that I did not win anything. I disagree.  I think I did win. 

D.M. Warrington

A.      In this instance, your wife is correct. After a review of the text message, it becomes clear that this is a scam and what is referred to as "smishing," which means fishing for personal information.

If you had followed the link received in the text message, it would have lead you to a page set up to look very similar to the legitimate Best Buy web page but it is a fake.

You would then be required to enter information such as your birth date, social security number and credit card number in order to claim the "gift card." Entering this information would still not make you the winner of that gift card but instead would make you a victim of identity theft.

Our advice is always to ignore a “smishing” message. It is best if you do not respond at all. Even simply replying “get lost” or “I know this is a scam” could lead the con artist to think that they have reached a person that is willing to engage with them somehow.

You also can ontact your cell phone provider to inquire about blocking unwanted messages.

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