Posted at: 11/15/2012 8:20 PM
Updated at: 11/16/2012 7:50 AM
By: Nick Winkler
Alleged contest winners were duped into giving out friends' personal information.
It's called gift card smishing and starts when someone receives an unsolicited text message directing them to a dummy web site where they have allegedly won a $1,000 gift card to Target.
Instead of a gift card though, scam watchdogs say the site asks for your personal information and that of your closest friends. By responding to the text, you're also confirming your cell number is real, which scammers then compile into a list and sell on the black market to other scammers.
To protect yourself, ignore the text message and immediately contact your provider, which can block the scammer from sending you text messages. You may also want to report the incident to the Attorney General and Federal Trade Commission.
Scammers have engaged in similar ploys posing as Wal-Mart and Best Buy.
Scambook, an online complaint resolution platform, says the scam will likely peak between Black Friday and Christmas.