Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler is warning consumers not to fall for texts that falsely promise that consumers have won a gift card to a major retail store.
“Scams like these tend to pop up around the holidays when consumers are shopping more and looking for bargains,” Gansler said. “But you should never give away personal information in order to redeem a prize. Simply delete any message from someone you do not know and remember the old saying, ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.’”
The scam promises $500 or $1,000 gift cards to major retailers. The text message directs consumers to a website where they are told to enter a provided code and personal information. That personal information is then used to steal money and to steal people's identities.
Gansler warned that legitimate contests will never ask for that type of information.
Gansler also reminded that "https" at the beginning of a URL indicates the website is secure. He advised people to register all of their phone numbers with the federal Do Not Call List and consider downloading a spam blocker phone application.
Individuals who think they have been solicited with this scam or any other suspicious scheme can file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Division at http://www.oag.state.md.us/Consumer/complaint.htm or contact the consumer hotline at 410-528-8662 or 1-888-743-0023 for more information. Consumers who believe they are victims of identity theft should call the Attorney General’s Identity Theft Unit at 410-576-6491 or learn more at http://www.oag.state.md.us/idtheft/index.htm.