Smishing scams (bogus offers sent via email or text) shouldn’t be anything new to consumers, but for some reason beyond the realm of logic they’re as prevalent as ever–especially one in particular.
In response to what it called a “sudden increase in scam text messages referring people to a site where they can claim a Walmart Gift Card,” Walmart issued a warning on its own website this month:
“The most popular website being used recently is called “walmartgift.mobi”. This site is not owned, operated by, or affiliated with Walmart. Any site can be used for this scam and users are often asked for private personal information including credit card numbers or social security numbers. Providing this type of information is very likely to lead to identity theft or credit card fraud.”
How it works
People usually get a text or email alerting them that they’ve just scored a $1,000 prize to spend as they wish at the retail giant. Once they’ve trotted over to the website usually included in the message, they’re sent into a neverending labyrinth of surveys, forms and “sponsor offers,” leaving a trail of their personal information in their wake.
Why people are falling for it
It’s in the fine print, plain and simple. The offers usually include a disclaimer that says the recipient’s never guaranteed any gift card or prize at all. The problem is no one bothers to read it.
Here’s what a typical scam looks like. Read it. Memorize it. And whatever you do, don’t click on it!