Smishing Scams: Sorry, You Did Not Win a $1,000 Target Gift Card
I’m posting this because fresh rounds of “you have won a $1000 best buy gift card” are going around, my wife and daughter just got texted with this SMishing scam. Be wary of SMS phishing scams.
Smishing is similar to “phishing,” in which you receive an email that seems to be from a reputable source, asking for your credit card data, password, or other private information. Only instead of an email, smishing takes place through the SMS text messages you receive on your cell phone.
Spotting a Smish
An incoming smishing attempt will probably look like it’s been sent by a bank or a familiar company, or perhaps a lottery-prize notification service. In phishing emails, you can sometimes spot typos or sloppy writing that will tip you off that the source is a fraudster (though many emails will look absolutely convincing). With smishing, though, the content is more limited and it can be hard to tell a fake from the real thing — except, of course, for the fact that banks, companies, and lotteries typically won’t text you.
Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna advises: “Ignore texts that look like they’re coming from your bank or credit card… Flip over your credit or ATM card and call the number on the back. If there’s a problem with your account, that’s the best way to find out.”
Sorry, You Didn’t Win
Some big scams making the rounds these days are trying to lure naïve consumers with promises of $1,000 gift certificates to Best Buy (BBY), Walmart (WMT) or Target (TGT). The appeal is clear. Who among us, after all, doesn’t need a bigger, thinner, shinier TV? Or a new computer or camera?
The text might announce, “Congratulations, you’ve won!” and might invite you to enter a code to claim a prize. You may be given a toll-free number to call, or asked to reply to the text. It might have a link for you to click, as well.