Cell phone users in the Omaha area have been getting a suspicious text the past couple of days. The text says the recipient has won a free gift card and urges them to click a link. The BBB warns that this is a scam -- estimating tens of thousands of people received the text in the metro alone.
A similar phishing scam buzzed cell phones in Denver in July.
The text messages vary, but all contain an offer of a gift card, a URL to visit and PIN to enter on the website. A typical example is below:
“Your entry in our drawing WON you a free $1000 Target giftcard! Enter “917″ at www.target.com.tgrz.biz to claim it and we can ship it to you immediately”
The texts have come to phones through various providers, including Sprint and Verizon.
The Better Business Bureau says that after completing the entire process, a call was received requesting $4.95 and a credit or debit card number to get two $100 gift vouchers to Target, Walmart, Home Depot or Best Buy. There was no mention of the original offer for a $1,000 Target gift card, and the BBB cannot verify that anyone has ever received a free gift card from these offers.
“Consumers responding to these kinds of deals may unknowingly be registering for products that they would have to pay for. Also, you are giving out personal information to an unknown party that could sell it to others or use it to steal your identity,” stated BBB President and CEO Jim Hegarty.
The BBB advises people to be extremely cautious when responding to unsolicited text messages.