Buyer Beware: New Texting Scam

By Matt Porter

November 27, 2012 Updated Nov 27, 2012 at 7:18 PM EDT

Town of Nanticoke, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A scam that has been seen over email is now targeting our phones.

People across the Southern Tier have received text messages that appear to be coming from major retailers promising a big gift, but those retailers and the Attorney General's office say it's nothing but a hoax.

The messages sent via text promise gift cards of up to $1,000 from retailers including Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Target.

They usually include a link and ask for a response to claim the prize.

Unfortunately, the Attorney General's Office said these are nothing but "phishing" scams where people who respond can have their identities compromised.

Amanda Trotter, a mother of three, said the promise could cause some to fall for something too good to be true.

"Especially if you send it to a teenager," said Trotter, "They're gonna be like 'Oh! Money, Christmas, you know, it's gonna be great, I could go out by a new TV, laptop.'"

The State Attorney General's Office said responding can tell the scammer that the number is a working cell phone, and that number can be sold to telemarketers.

Also, clicking any links could cause malicious software to be downloaded to the phone and steal personal information.

Retailers Target, Wal-Mart, and Best Buy said they do not award prizes via email or text message.

The best thing to do is delete the message and report the scam to the Consumer Frauds Bureau of the Attorney General.

Their hotline number is 1-800-771-7755.