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Walmart warns of text message scam

By Claes Bell · Bankrate.com
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Posted: 10 am ET

If you see a text message from Walmart letting you know you've won a free $1,000 gift card, don't start counting your No Boundaries flip flops and Old Glory jean shorts just yet.

Walmart sent out a fraud alert today warning customers today of a texting scam designed to steal victims' sensitive information:

There has been a sudden increase in scam text messages referring people to a site where they can "claim a Walmart Gift Card" by entering certain private personal information. These attacks that take place through SMS text message technologies to personal mobile phones are scams and are in no way sponsored by or affiliated with Walmart. This type of scam has come to be known as "Smishing" because of the use of SMS text technology. Similar to the way scam web sites send "Phishing" emails, scam artists have been sending text messages offering free Walmart gift cards to consumers in exchange for entering information on a mobile website. The most popular website being used recently is called "walmartgift.mobi." This site is not owned, operated by, or affiliated with Walmart.

Those unlucky enough to fall for the scam will probably see any personal information they provide used to hijack their identities and sign up for fraudulent credit card accounts, checking accounts and other financial products.

You can fight back, however. Walmart urges those who receive the text message to forward it to "7726," which spells "SPAM," an account the major carriers have set up to get user help shutting down text spammers. If you do so, you'll get a text back asking for the spammers' phone number, so the carrier can get to work kicking the spammer off their network and possibly launching an investigation.

Keep in mind, too, that the scam may not be limited to Walmart. I've heard reports of similar text messages purporting to be from Best Buy and other retailers.

If you've already given the spammers your information, you still have options that may prevent full-blown identity theft. You can contact the Federal Trade Commission at (877) 382-4357 and let them know what's going on. I'd also consider calling on of the three major credit reporting bureaus, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, and placing a fraud alert on your credit record. You'll only need to contact one of the bureaus to get all three to pick up the alert, which will make it more difficult for scammers to start any new accounts in your name. Best of all, it's free.

What do you think? Have you seen any of these texts hit your phone? Have you ever been the victim of identity theft?

Follow me on Twitter: @ClaesBell.

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17 Comments
Lou
July 19, 2012 at 1:26 pm

I ot a call from one of these guys, had an Indian accent. I'm on vacation so I have time to spare right now and decided to waste this guys time. I pretended to go along with him and listened to him, then I asked an infinite amount of questions, pretending I was bought into the scam... then when he finally asked me for my info and credit card, etc. I gave him fake info... he would come back saying the card was not working.. I would play dumb and give him another fake number... and again... until the guy lost it... Hahahah It was hilarious... he wasted almost 30 minutes with me and I had nothing better to do so it was well worth it.

David
July 06, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Fiona: "Well, in my experience, if something is too good to be true, it's best to shoot it. Just in case."

Linda Carreiro
July 02, 2012 at 6:27 pm

i received this text 2 times! seeing i NEVER give anyone my cellphone number (my cell is for emergencys only) and i gave it to walmart to let me know when my pictures were ready, the texts are coming thru someone who has access to walmarts customers.

Michelle Manning
June 26, 2012 at 9:28 am

I have recieved many of these texts from "Walmart" and have deleted each one. My dad always told me that if it sounds too good then it probably is. I get tired of getting spam email and text messages from these thieves. The email messages sometimes have an email address that more than warns you it is a scam. I can't believe some of them because they are so flagrant that I can't believe anyone would fall for it. I wish there were a way to completely stop all of this crime. My husband travels with his job. He works for a military contractor so he travels around the world. He was recently in Italy and someone stole his credit card number. THOUSANDS of dollars were charged to our card. We did get credit for it and didn't have to pay for it but I let our bank know how unhappy that I was because they put a fraud alert on our account without notifying us and then went ahead and approved charges like a cruise booked through a travel agency in Italy. First of all,they should have notified us about the fraud alert and asked us if these were our charges. That is the least they could do. I have an account of my own with Wood Forrest Bank and when I was in Alabama went to the bank and cashed a check for $500.00. Before I even got out the door my phone rang and it was the bank calling to confirm that it was actually me making the charge. I was impressed to say the least and thanked them profusely for the call. I use my credit and debit cards all of the time and hardly anyone ever asks to see my ID, which is actually supposed to be done. Whenever anyone checks my ID I always thank them for making sure it is me making the charge. I have seen people throw fits when having to show ID. How ridiculous, the merchant or bank is only verifying that it is not someone taking your money away from you. Everyone needs to check ID's and even that is not 100% foolproof. I will be glad when they can "fix" this problem and impose harsh sentences on those that are doing the stealing.

Jean McCloskey
June 20, 2012 at 8:49 pm

I received an e-mail like this and they wanted information which I did not provide.