Montana News

Nov 19, 2012 1:37 AM by MTN News - Missoula

Montanans warned of gift card scam

Several folks in Missoula have reported receiving text messages saying that they've won a $1,000 Target gift card, but people are being advised to think twice before trying to redeem it.

The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers of a phishing scam with the Target offer that's been sent to an estimated tens of thousands of people in Nebraska, western Iowa and South Dakota, said President and CEO Jim Hegarty.

But in a posting on their Facebook page, the Missoula County Sheriff's Office is also getting reports of people here in Western Montana that have seen the message.

"Consumers responding to these kinds of deals may unknowingly be registering for products that they would have to pay for," he said. "Also, you are giving out personal information to an unknown party that could sell it to others or use it to steal your identity."

One message the BBB received read: Attn: Ne. Target shopper your entry won! Go to http://targetrdzn.com/?111 and enter code XXXX to claim your $1000 Target gift card now!"

The link takes consumers to numerous pages that ask for personal information. The fine print states that the offer "is not affiliated with, sponsored by or endorsed by any of the listed products or retailers."

Once the information is filled out, BBB reports that consumers may receive a call requesting $4.95 and a credit or debit card number to get two $100 gift vouchers to Target, Walmart, Home Depot or Best Buy, with no mention of the original $1,000 Target offer.

Hegarty said the BBB can't verify that anyone has received a free gift through the offers and encourages consumers to proceed with caution when responding to unsolicited texts.

MCSO says it's hard to keep up with all the scam variations that are out there, and recommends people go to the Montana Department of Justice website for the latest alerts.