Random text message? No real prize is waiting for you
Cristina Miranda, consumer education specialist with the Federal
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[February 27, 2014]
WASHINGTON — We've said it
before, and we'll say it again: Don't reply to — or click on — a
link for a random text message you see on your phone saying that
you've won a prize, gift card or an expensive electronic like an
iPad. It's most likely a scam.
According to a text spam settlement announced by the FTC, two groups
of companies known as SubscriberBASE Holdings Inc. and Threadpoint
LLC hired spammers to send millions of unsolicited texts to lure
people to websites where they would get "free" gift cards. When
people clicked on the links, they were led to bogus websites to
register for the prizes. Registration required them to sign up for
several third-party offers where they had to reveal personal
information. At the end, no one actually got the gift cards that
were promised. The whole operation was designed to allow these
companies to collect people's personal information and make money by
selling it to third-parties.
This scam is avoidable:
, especially those that ask you to enter a special code
or to confirm or provide personal information by following a
link to a website. These are almost always bogus sites that
exist to access your information.
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guarded with your personal information, and treat it as if
it were cash. Refrain from entering your Social Security,
bank account or credit card numbers online or by phone to
someone who gets in touch with you. And remember, no
legitimate company will ever text or email you asking for
your personal information.
Never give out
your personal or financial information online.
If you are an AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon or Sprint subscriber,
copy the original message and forward it to 7726 (SPAM) free
Report spam texts to your carrier.
[By CRISTINA MIRANDA,
Federal Trade Commission]