CHICAGO, IL – March 22, 2012 – The Better Business Bureau serving
Chicago and northern Illinois (BBB) received a report about a smishing attempt via text
message being sent to users claiming customers won a $1,000 Best Buy or
Wal-Mart gift card. The message continues to tell the user to visit a website
to claim the amount.
“This is not a legitimate offer and is not promoted nor sent by
Best Buy or Wal-Mart,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better
Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois.
“We strongly advise consumers to not complete the form or enter any personal
information into the website provided.”
Smishing is the practice of sending a phishing message to steal
credit card or identity information via cell phone text messaging.
Bernas explained text messages are not typically blocked and only
contain text, making it easier for scammers to make smishing messages appear
“As consumers utilize their cell phones more and more to access
the Internet, they need to guard against scams as they would on their home or
office computers,” he added.
Smishing messages may also direct recipients to call a phony
toll-free number in order to complete or cancel some financial transaction
where a fake operator will take down your financial information over the phone.
The BBB offers the following tips if you receive a questionable or
unsolicited text message:
- Check out the URL or phone number of a
company before you disclose any personal or financial information for FREE at www.bbb.org
financial institutions, utility, or other business will not communicate
with you via text message. If you do not recognize the website or phone
number being sent to you, don't visit or call it;
e-mailing and texting personal and financial information. If you have
determined the website to be legitimate and do decide to submit financial
information, look for the "lock" icon on the browser's status
bar. It signals that your information is secure during transmission;
your credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them
to determine whether there are any unauthorized charges. If your statement
is late by more than a couple of days, call your credit card company or
bank to confirm your billing address and account balances.
For more information on smishing and other scams targeting
consumers, visit the BBB online at www.bbb.org
As a private, non-profit
organization, the purpose of the Better Business Bureau is to promote an
ethical marketplace. BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaints by means of
conciliation, mediation and arbitration. BBBs also review advertising claims,
online business practices and charitable organizations. BBBs develop and
issue reports on businesses and nonprofit organizations and encourage
people to check out a company or charity before making a purchase or donation.