BBB Alert: Beware Postcards Offering “Gift Savings” Rewards

  
     
March 22, 2013

Roanoke, VA (March 14, 2013) A senior Roanoke woman quickly dialed her neighbor’s number after going through her mail.

“Did you win a $100 reward today?”

Apparently she lived on the luckiest block in the country- the whole neighborhood was full of winners.

Sadly, this is the gift (card) that keeps on giving… right into scammer’s pockets.

Postcards are being dropped into the mailboxes of residents in western Virginia telling them they’ve won a reward of $100.00 in gift savings to Wal-Mart or Target. Consumers are urged to “contact us immediately to claim your reward!” Once you call the number listed, you are urged to provide your credit card or banking information to cover up to $7.95 in shipping and handling. Must be some heavy gift cards they’re mailing. In reality, requesting funds for shipping and handling is a scammer’s way of getting personal information including bank account, credit card, and social security numbers.

Thankfully, the consumer picked up the phone and called the BBB Serving Western Virginia instead of the call center eagerly awaiting her banking information. This is a new twist on a familiar scam involving gift cards that used text messaging in the past. Now it appears scammers are specifically targeting seniors who may not be as integrated and active with texting and email communication.

Wal-Mart and Target have no connection with reward and gift savings sweepstakes and do not partner with agencies that offer rewards with advance fee stipulations.

“Be wary of any contest or sweepstakes that asks for an upfront fee, “said Julie Wheeler, President and C.E.O. of BBB in Western VA. “Legitimate sweepstakes companies will not ask you to pay handling fees, taxes or other charges. Winning is free.”

· 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’. A true sweepstakes will not make its winner pay fees.

· Check your bank statements and credit cards on a regular basis for unauthorized charges.

· If a company name is provided, go to http://www.bbb.org to check out the business or to find a BBB Accredited Business you can trust.

If you need more information, contact the BBB at (540) 342-3455 or (800) 533-5501. You can also visit www.bbb.org. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/BBB_WesternVA