You probably get promotional offers in the mail all the time — from various retailers, stores, restaurants and other companies — that typically include special discounts, coupons or other deals. And over the past few years, you’ve probably noticed more and more similar types of offers on Facebook — as many companies use discounts and special deals to promote their page, website or maybe a particular product.
But unfortunately, what you see is not always what you get.
Beware of fake retail offers arriving in the mail
Who wouldn’t want to receive a free gift card in the mail?! That’s exactly why this scam works.
Crooks are sending out fake mailers offering $100 gift cards to either Target or Walmart — all you have to do is call the number provided on the mailer and answer a few ‘research’ questions.
When you call the number, the first thing the person asks for is a credit card number — instant red flag.
But your credit card info isn’t all they’re after — these scammers will take whatever they can get. By simply calling that number, you’ve just given the crooks your cell phone number, which they will sell to other crooks — and then the scam calls will really start rolling in!
Here’s an example of a fake offer submitted to WWBT.
How to spot a fake mailer scam:
If you get something in the mail that looks too good to be true, it probably is.
If there’s no return address, website or any real way of contacting the source of the offer other than a phone number, that’s a big red flag.
If you aren’t sure whether the offer is legitimate, call the retailer and ask the company directly — don’t call the number included in the offer.
Walmart gift card scam circulating on Facebook
There have also been reports recently of a fake Walmart gift card making the rounds on Facebook.
Here’s how it works: someone you know posts about a $250 Walmart gift card that he or she got for free — and you can get one, too — all you have to do is click on the link shared in the post.
DON’T CLICK! This is a common method used by scammers to trick unsuspecting Facebook users into clicking on a malicious link (because again, who wouldn’t want a free gift card?).
The offer is usually linked to a website that can corrupt your computer with a virus and steal your information. It may also allow hackers to take over your Facebook account and use your profile to lure other victims by direct messaging your friends or posting similar offers.
Read more: How to spot fake coupons online
How you can help protect yourself from data criminals and identity theft:
Don’t provide any personal information to an individual or source you don’t know.
Be vigilant! If you get an offer in your inbox, social feed, or even in a text or phone call, do your research and find out if other people have reported a similar incident as a scam.
Be suspicious and ask questions.
Don’t open or reply to ads, unsolicited social posts or e-mails that ask you to take a survey or are congratulating you for winning something.
Walmart will never request personal information from a consumer. So, if the voice on the other end of the line need your password, Social Security number or any financial information–hang up! See more on Walmart’s website.