The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Police/Courts

January 13, 2014

AG warns Target gift card offer is a scam

CHARLESTON — Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is warning West Virginia consumers of a Target gift card scam that has been occurring across the country on social media.

The warnings are the latest taken to inform nearly 70 million consumers who may have been affected when company credit and debit cards were breached in December.

“Scammers have taken to social media websites to prey on consumers offering them a Target Gift Card supposedly as a way to make up for their data being breached,” Morrisey said. “This is scam. Target has not offered gift cards in response to this incident.

“Consumers also need to be wary of fake domain names pretending to Target popping up.”

Here are some ways to recognize a gift card scam and avoid fake websites:

• Look for errors in formatting and language on the website. Suspicious indicators to look for include sloppy language or formatting, typos and an informal style, such as multiple exclamation marks.

• Look at the specific URL. Another indicator is a site with a URL that attempts to mimic the URL of a more well-known site by adding a letter, or ending with .co rather than .com.

Do not click on hyperlinks or open attachments in suspicious e-mails: If you receive a text, social post or e-mail from an unknown sender, do not click the link, respond to it or share any personal information.

“It is important to remember to be extremely protective of your personal information,” Morrisey said. “If consumers receive communications or offers appearing to be from Target, they should call Target to confirm the communication is legitimate and report any instances of fraud to our office.”

If you believe you have been a victim of identity theft or your credit cards have been breached, call local law enforcement, as well as the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 800-368-8808 and the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-438-4338 or go online to www.ftc.gov/idtheft.

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