Outsmart the Smishing Scammers

Updated December 12, 2012

Recently, there have been reports of automated text message and Facebook post scams that prompt unsuspecting phone users to click on a link or “like” a post to “win a $1,000 gift card,” among other offers.

One scam technique, known as “smishing,” uses mobile phone text and audio messaging to trick victims into handing over vital information, like account numbers, private passwords and Social Security numbers.

Another scam technique, known as “phishing,” takes place when websites try to trick victims into disclosing logins, passwords or other sensitive information by disguising themselves as other websites users may trust.

People are often caught off guard by these messages, but don’t be fooled.

Target takes the security of its guests and consumers seriously and works to disable and block fake “Target” websites and links as soon as they’re discovered. But consumers can also protect themselves and stay smartphone safe.

How to identify a scam
If you receive such a message, it is most likely a scam. Suspicious indicators to look for include sloppy language, typos and an informal style, such as multiple exclamation marks. Another indicator is a site with a URL that attempts to mimic the URL of a more well-known site. For example, facebook.br.co may be attempting to mimic facebook.com.

What to do if you receive a scam
If you receive a suspicious text, social post or email, do not click the link, respond to it or share any personal information. You can help the authorities investigate and stop smishing scams by taking these steps:

  • Notify your phone company as soon as possible to make sure no false charges have been added to your bill.
  • Report suspected scam texts to the GSMA by forwarding them to 7726 (“SPAM” on the keypad.) Once you do, you’ll receive an automated message from your wireless carrier asking for the phone number that sent you the text.
  •  On Facebook, if you see a post that you suspect is spam, click on the dropdown arrow at the top right-hand portion of the post and select “Report Story or Spam.” If you receive spam through your personal messages, go to the conversation and open the Actions menu. Once there, select “Report Spam or Abuse.”
  • Guests are always encouraged to contact Target to confirm or ask questions on promotions at  target.com/contactus.


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