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Scam Watch: Text message claiming you've won a Walmart gift card

A text message offering a $1,000 Walmart gift card is hitting cell phones across Central New York and many of you have been asking if it’s legit.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- A text message offering a $1,000 Walmart gift card is hitting cell phones across Central New York and many of you have been asking if it’s legit.

A $1,000 gift card can go a long way. Who couldn’t use it? But claiming it could end up costing you a lot more than a thousand bucks. The Better Business Bureau has fielded a lot of calls on this particular scam and so have we.

NewsChannel 9 producers Sabrina Betts and Rebecca Aydelotte both received the text messages, claiming to be from Walmart.

“It said you’re eligible to win a free gift card from Walmart,” Betts said.

“As soon as I saw that I knew it was a scam, but I came here and I checked just in case,” Aydelotte said. “Because in the back of your mind, you’re thinking maybe…you always want to think that.”

Well think again, because this gift card text scam has nothing to do with Walmart. The text will try to bait you for personal information like credit card information or social security numbers – just responding to the message can spell trouble, according to police.

“The scammers will now have your phone number and they’ll enter your phone number into their own database to target you for future scam attacks,” explained Syracuse Police Detective, Anthony Colavita.

Scammers often choose well known stores that people trust and now they’re choosing smartphones to hook you.

“It’s very east to fall for…it looks legit,” Betts said.

Aydelotte said, “You can ignore it if it’s a phone call, but if it’s a text message you have to look.”

And that’s just what these scammers are banking on. It's not clear how scammers are getting cellphone numbers, but Detective Colavita says there are databases of phone numbers out there and they’re very valuable on the black market. They might also use random dialing telemarketing services to hit on your number.

The Better Business Bureau has issued an alert about this scam and Walmart has posted information on its website as well. Walmart has also asked the Federal Trade Commission to block the text messages, but finding the senders has proven difficult.

On the web –

Warning about this scam posted on Walmart’s website

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