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Scams offering gift cards from Wal-Mart could cost you big bucks

By Megan Brantley, mbrantley@wcyb.com
Published On: Sep 14 2012 04:45:38 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 02 2012 09:01:28 PM CDT
BRISTOL, Tenn. -

Kathy Dowda received a text from someone who offered her a $1,000 dollar Wal-mart gift.

"At first I was excited, $1000 dollars, this is great! But there were a few things that made me suspicious," said Dowda.

Dowda tells me that text did not have her name in it. It was addressed to a Wal-mart shopper.

It instructed her to go to a website, which did not even have Wal-mart mentioned on it. That raised her suspicion:

"I called my Wal-mart store and asked for the manager and he said they had had about 50 calls that day," said Dowda.

I called Wal-mart headquarters in Arkansas and they told me they are all too familiar with this scam.
I learned the text message does give a website to go to, to collect your gift card.

The customer is then taken through a series of sponsor offers where they pay a great deal of money in fees, subscriptions and products, with no guarantee of a gift card.

We learned that if you receive one of these text messages that you should forward the text to 7726, or SCAM. You will receive another text from your mobile service provider asking you to send the number that it came from, and they will block it.

Representatives from Wal-mart say you should always protect yourself. They advise you to not open or respond to unsolicited emails offering gift cards and pay attention to the website Url if it doesn't match the brand, then navigate away from it.

We learned Wal-mart does offer a $1000 dollar gift card to people who take their online survey. This website is located at the bottom of any Wal-mart receipt.

News 5 also learned Wal-mart does not send text messages to your phone unless you opt- in for their text service, but they do not send soliciting text messages.