Beware: Text, tweet, email offers could be scams
Posted January 11, 2012
In tough economic times, who wouldn't want a free shopping spree from Walmart or a free gift card for Best Buy?
Text messages, tweets and emails circulating right now promise just that, and unsuspecting consumers are falling for scams because they tout reputable companies and, on the surface, appear legitimate.
One email going around, for example tells recipients that they or she has been selected for a $1,000 Walmart holiday overstock shopping spree giveaway" and provides a link to a website for them to "claim their gift."
Once they click through, questions pile up from a site using Walmart's name.
The Office of the North Carolina Attorney General says that it has traced some of the fraudulent messages all the way to Russia.
The goal of the scam is the same as so many others: to get people to provide their credit card numbers, to pay for shipping and handling or buy products or subscriptions.
In one of the many complaints online, one victim wrote that he or she "had to purchase other items in order to proceed."
The bottom line: Always pay attention to where the website offers come from, no matter what reputable companies are named. Go to the home site of the actual company listed to check it out.
For example, on its website, Walmart posts multiple warnings about this latest scam and others.
Another thing to consider: To win a contest, you have to enter. If you have to pay any amount of money up front or buy something to get your so-called prize, you didn't really win.
If you randomly get a text, email or call supposedly from a particular business, leave it alone.