How the scam works:
There are a few variations of this scam, but mainly it works like this: you receive a text message claiming to be from Best Buy, Target, Netflix, or WAL-MART saying they are giving away a $1,000 gift card. It may add that the offer is only available to the first thousand people to claim the prize.
The recipient of the text is prompted to access a website, such as BestBuyWin.com or BestBuy.com/bhtk.biz and use a promo code, usually a number. Once that number is submitted, the victim is taken to a different website.
This is where the scam occurs. In order to receive the "potential" gift card, the victim is required to also provide an email address and personal information, purchase six products, and refer another five or ten other friends who must also buy six items.
Thinking they're still up for a good deal as they'll receive a $1,000 gift card instead, victims pay hundreds of dollars or more for the products. Needless to say, they never receive the gift card, as the real Best Buy company is not involved with this.
Furthermore, once they have personal information, scammers not only continue to send more spam messages, but they also sell it to similar companies. The trouble is, all of this is stated in the terms and conditions section of their site, but people always ignore reading that.
Similar to this scam, you might get a text informing that you are an "Apple winner" and you are invited to enter the code provided to claim Apple products, including iPads and iPhones. Beware!
How to avoid:
Tthe following are some phone numbers that you might be receiving fraudulent texts from: (816) 806.7392, (314) 225.3365, (347) 237.3911, (347) 205.0265, (510) 219.2914, (229) 848.2215, (412) 315.1790, (412) 551.6792, and (412) 315.8985, (305) 458-8964. However, these numbers change all the time as they get caught and disconnected. The same thing happens with the websites provided in the texts featuring brands. Be careful, as the domain name always contains the name of the real company, without their knowledge. When in doubt, don't hesitate to call the company itself and inquire about the existance of such promotional campaigns. Last but not least, always read the terms and conditions section and the fine print on everything you purchase. It's your money. If gift cards and reward programs are really your thing, use only legitimate companies. One of the most trustworthy services out there is Swagbucks.com, which is the largest online rewards portal dedicated to helping customers earn gift cards, electronics, and exclusive merchandise. It's worth checking them out - you can visit their website HERE.
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