EYE ON SCAMS: Text message scams offering ‘too good to be true’ discounts

Eye on Scams

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Con-artists are offering too good to be true discounts in the hope that consumers will jump on these “deals.” 

Everyone loves a deal including scammers. Reports suggest scammers are impersonating well-known companies and offering discounts.

Chris Babin, with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, said, “We’ve had a lot of reports in the Acadiana area of people getting text messages, really from AT&T more specifically, in our local area promising different things apologizing for outages or different things from the hurricanes and promising different rewards and prizes and having consumers fill out information that’s leaving them vulnerable.”

The message claims that due to the pandemic, the company would like to help people out by offering them a good deal. These range from free or discounted services to gift cards and cash.

“A majority of the reports that we’ve had are consumers getting text messages with links that say in order to claim a prize or reward you need to fill out the information following the link, so you click on the link. It opens up another page. Of course, the text isn’t from AT&T. It’s from scammers,” explained Babin.

If you click the link, you may be prompted to log into a lookalike website that scammers use to get hold of your personal information.

“When you click on a link, you’re never really sure what type of malware or something could be downloaded on your phone, but these reports have been asking for information,” added Babin. “One more specifically, payment information for shipping and handling of the reward that they’re going to be sending you. Of course, the item never shows up. The card information is now compromised. They might charge it initially, and then they now have your credit card information for the future if you don’t catch it.”

Here are some tips from the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana on how to avoid text message scams:

  • Treat messages from unknown senders with caution. Many companies engage in SMS marketing, but keep in mind consumers must opt in to receive messages.
  • Don’t click on links from strangers. If you click the link, you could be directed to a dangerous website.
  • Confirm deals with the company before you accept. Send them an email or call to inquire. 
  • Install antivirus software on your computer and mobile devices. Antivirus software can scan for malware.

For more on Eye on Scams, download our Eye on Scam podcast on 10 Talks Acadiana. It’s available anywhere you listen to podcasts. If you have a scam you’d like me to investigate, feel free to send me an email at smasters@klfy.com.

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