If you've received a text message this week promising $175 worth of free groceries at Target, you may have thought it was too good to be true. Well, it is. Delete the text immediately and whatever you do, don't click the link. WFMY News 2 has brought attention to a seemingly good-natured text message that has been circulating. Turns out it's bogus and trying to redeem the offer will only get you into murky waters.
The text message in question promises recipients $175 worth of groceries and lists a link, where recipients can redeem the offer. However, as WFMY News 2 reports, this link is bad news. Opening it can install a series of dangerous features on your phone, such as an undetected virus, malware, spyware, or ransomware. These assets can then allow hackers to obtain your personal information, such as passwords to mobile banking and email, as well as credit card information.
Bottom line: Really check out any text messages, emails, or offers you may receive from a brand. These fraud messages will typically prompt recipients to click on a link or download an item—which is exactly how the scammers get you. "Don’t click on or respond to online ads or websites offering free gift cards. These are often scams," Target wrote on its website. While the budget retailer is a well-known and trusted brand that often offers shoppers special deals and promotions, it would have announced a deal this generous on its website— so always check before taking any actions. The retailer also offers additional tips here to help customers spot the signs that a scammer may be trying to target them.
Today, a local government in Canada also warned its residents about a similar text message making the rounds that prompted residents for personal information in order to claim free money. While this text message does not involve Target whatsoever, it illustrates that hackers are striking during this difficult time and may use many different tactics to get a hold of your information.
Scam alert: We’ve seen reports of a text message claiming to be from The City of Calgary and asking for your personal information sent to a Hotmail account.— City of Calgary (@cityofcalgary) May 20, 2020
To be clear: This is not us. We are not texting Calgarians. And we definitely don’t have a Hotmail account. pic.twitter.com/DHVgLBxkpz
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