Authorities are warning consumers of a new scam offering $US100 gift cards at Target and Wal-Mart.
The gift card offer, which has been spotted in Ohio and North Carolina, comes on a postcard and lists a toll-free number for consumers to call and claim their reward.
“If you call the number, you’ll be asked to provide your credit card number, supposedly to cover shipping or processing fees of $US6.95 or less,” the North Carolina attorney general’s office posted in an advisory online. “But once you’ve shared your credit card number, there’s little to stop the group behind the post cards from racking up more charges on your account. Consumers who’ve fallen for the scam report being charged up to $US100 at once, or finding smaller charges appear on their bill each month.”
The attorney general’s office advises consumers who fell for the scam to call their bank immediately.
As a general rule, however, it’s safest to assume that money is never free, and any email or letter that promises otherwise is a scam.
Consumers should also be extra vigilant about communication from Target and Neiman Marcus, as those retailers were recently hit with a massive data breach. Cyber security experts say hackers may try to piggyback on those attacks by offering refunds or other services to victims of the breach and asking consumers to provide personal information in the process.
If you are unsure as to whether an email or message from Target is legitimate, check this website where the retailer is logging all its official communication with consumers.
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