As tempting as a free Target present card is probably, understand that when something sounds too desirable to be actual, it generally is. So in case you see anything about a free Target gift at the same time as browsing Facebook this week, you will need to consider simply that.
“Howdy buddies. Send TARGET to 83361 and get a free Target present card. Just got one,” reads one such caption, alongside a photograph of a grocery haul, in step with reviews from Snopes and Good Housekeeping. Target did not straight away reply to Romper’s request for comment concerning the rip-off.
What is Smishing?
So if someone truly sends that textual content message, what is going to happen? This scam is a “smishing” scam.
Short for SMS Phishing, smishing is a variant of phishing email scams that instead utilizes Short Message Service (SMS) systems to send bogus text messages.
Smishing scams frequently seek to direct the text message recipient to visit a website or call a phone number, at which point the person being scammed is enticed to provide sensitive information such as credit card details or passwords. Smishing websites are also known to attempt to infect the person’s computer with malware.
After someone sends the textual content, the scammer will probably reply with a link, in keeping with IDTheftInfo. The hyperlink will typically lead the user to a page where they’re caused to type in personal statistics, like their credit card quantity or social safety number.
IDTheftinfo.Org, a website by using the Consumer Federation of America, explains that it’s like a phishing rip-off, however, the hacker will send a hyperlink over the textual content message as opposed to electronic mail. Once you click on the link, the scammer will bait you for statistics like your credit card data or your social security number.
On top of that, Snopes says clicking the hyperlink may compromise your Facebook account, meaning that bots can hold sharing the scam with your friends, without you even understanding.
If you notice this publish on Facebook be careful for it and alert your pals to be cautious. Giving out personal information online to random resources may be risky so always guard yourself!
The hoax isn’t whatever new. In fact, some years returned, an almost identical rip-off promised unfastened $100 gift cards to Walmart shoppers who clicked a hyperlink that changed into shared on social media. At the time, Walmart told consumers that they ought to in no way reply to an e-mail, telephone call, or textual content messages that threaten you, require you to click on an external hyperlink to offer greater records or asks for personal or account records at once inside the e-mail.
Taking the following precautions you can avoid becoming a victim:
- Be wary of links sent from an unknown number. You should never click on a link sent to you through text if you don’t recognize the number.
- Keep an eye out for bad grammar or any typos. These are often a direct giveaway that it’s a scam. Legit businesses proofread their official communications, even text messages.
- Be careful with your personal info. Always be conservative with the information you provide to any website and make sure that you’re entering it through the retailer’s website directly instead of a link from an email or text message.
- When in doubt, contact the company directly. A customer service representative should be able to verify if the text message is real.
- Target GiftCards can only be used at Target stores and on Target.com, and cannot be used to purchase other prepaid or specialty gift cards.
- Don’t always trust your caller ID. Scammers can manipulate a caller ID to look like a legitimate company or government agency.
- Don’t purchase a gift card if it appears that the packaging has been altered or manipulated. If you have questions about a gift card, ask someone who works at that store.
- Don’t click on or respond to online ads or websites offering free gift cards. These are often scams.
- If you think you’ve been the victim of a gift card scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at ftccomplaintassistant.gov.