Buyer Beware: Text Message Prize Scams

 Derived from the words “SMS” (texting) and “phishing”, SMiShing is a form of phishing which targets consumers through text messages.

 SMiShing messages come in a variety of forms.  Some messages may advise you that you have been signed up for a service and if you don’t visit a particular website and enter your personal details you will be charged a subscription fee.  Others may offer free anti-virus downloads or special services if you reply or enter your credit card details into their website. recently identified a SMiShing scam which could cost consumers through the holiday season.  Their users have reported a smishing scam that claims the consumer has won a $1000.00 Best Buy gift card and directs them to to claim their prize.

The unfortunate reality is that there is no real prize for the receiver, but entering their personal information into this website may result in unwanted (and expensive) SMS subscriptions and additional SPAM.  This type of scam often requires customers to sign up for various offers, then to have their friends and affiliates sign up for a number of prizes as well.  In the end, consumers may find that their personal information has been transmitted to countless advertising and affiliate companies without any real prize guarantees.

Some things to think about when you receive these types of messages

–     Did I enter any contests with this company?

–     Do I recognize the sender of this message? 

–     Is the prize-claim URL hosted on the company’s official site?

Chances are good that if you’re receiving unsolicited text messages from an unverifiable source, the claim is not quite what it seems.

We encourage all of our customers to stay safe online by researching and checking out their local law enforcement websites, many of which have dedicated fraud pages to help consumers protect themselves from fraudulent activity online.


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