Smishing Scam Touts Free Walmart Giftcard

March 28, 2012

Have you received a text message offering you a free Walmart gift card? Despite the attraction of a $1,000 gift card, BBB warns that the text message is a smishing scam.

The text message says - “Walmart $1000 gift card for the first 1000 users to go to ____ and enter code ____.”

Smishing is a relatively new twist on an old scam capitalizes on the explosive growth in smartphones. A smishing scam is a phishing scam that is sent to you via SMS text to your phone, instead of via email to your computer.

This smishing scam is using Walmart’s name and popularity to lure in victims. Nationwide, consumers have reported to BBB that they are requested to provide personal identifying information, and to provide a credit card to cover the costs of shipping and handling. Consumers who actually complete the gift card program often find themselves caught up in fulfilling “sponsor offers” which may include:

  • “Free trial offers” requiring a credit card for shipping and handling and may result in recurring monthly fees
  • Surveys resulting in the sell of personal marketing information which will result in increased solicitations, telemarketing and junk mail, and subscriptions

On their website the retail guru warns, "Walmart will never initiate a text message where we ask for sensitive personal data like credit card information or social security numbers."

If you receive similar texts or emails, BBB has this advice:

  • Contact your cell carrier. Both AT&T and Verizon provide specific instructions to report SMS spam, block numbers and in some cases websites. Both companies report they have and will take aggressive legal actions against identified sources of spam.
  • Discuss smishing scams with all members of your family who have cell phones, from the youngest to the oldest.
  • Do not click on links in text messages or emails offering prizes or ‘free’ products or trial offers.
  • Delete any texts or emails that claim you have won a prize or are eligible for a free product.
  • Do not provide personal information to claim ‘prizes’ or to sign up for free trials.
  • Never give your credit card number, social security number or bank account information to pay for fees, taxes, or shipping costs for anything that you may have ‘won’ or are getting for ‘free’.
  • Check your bank statements and credit cards on a regular basis for unauthorized charges.
  • Check you and your children’s credit reports with all three credit bureaus annually for any unauthorized credit accounts that have been opened using your social security numbers. You can get a free credit report at