State: Beware of fake Walmart gift card texts
Published: March 6, 2012 11:19AM
Updated: March 5, 2012 06:34PM

The Division of Consumer Protection is warning Utah consumers about a scam text involving Walmart gift cards.

Residents have reported receiving text messages on their cellphones claiming they were the winner of a $1,000 Walmart gift card — but need to enter a code word on a website to receive the prize.

State investigators looked into the offer and found that once a consumer entered information into the website, it asked the user to download a free software program that would record all keystrokes on a computer. If consumers were to fall prey to the scheme, they would be giving up bank account passwords along with other identifying information through the downloaded software.

The division said it contacted Walmart on Monday and was told the text messages did not originate from the national retailer.

“Con artists are targeting Utah cellphone owners with an attractive hook to steal your information,” warned Francine A. Giani, executive director of the Utah Department of Commerce. “Don’t let the promise of a high-value gift card make you open your wallet to these fraudsters. Be skeptical of any text message offer without verifying it first with the corresponding business or retailer.”

Investigators determined that the phone number sending the texts was a “202” area code and was probably from a prepaid cellphone. The website was registered in the Bahamas.

Consumers are reminded not to give out personal account information, Social Security numbers or other identifying information to strangers. Also, the division is recommending consumers not send any money through a wire transfer service unless the recipient is a trusted and known source.

For more information, log on to: www.consumerprotection.utah.gov.