A Text From Target Offering Free Groceries isn’t Real
Unfortunately, we live in a world where there are people who will use something like, oh let's say, a global pandemic, to prey on the rest of us in an effort to take something that doesn't belong to them, like our money. That's why it's super important we're all diligent in doing our research when something sounds too good to be true. Like $175 worth of free groceries from Target.
CBS affiliate, WFMY in Greensboro, North Carolina first reported the story of a text message people have been getting claiming that Target is giving away the groceries "to everyone this week to support the nation during Corona pandemic." How generous of them, right? The text also provides a link for you to tap in order to claim your "free groceries."
If you or someone you know gets this message or another one similar to it, do not under any circumstances tap the link. It's a scam. Specifically, a phishing scam. "Phishing" is pronounced "fishing" because that's what these people are doing. They're throwing out some bait, in this case free groceries, with the hope of hooking you in. By clicking the link, you've opened yourself up for them to plant a computer program in your phone, computer, or tablet that gives them access to all your saved user names and passwords which in turn can get them into your credit card or bank accounts, and before you know it, you're money is gone.
Spotting a phishing scam isn't always the easiest thing. Often times scammers will use a company's logo they've swiped off the internet to make it look legit. Always look at the e-mail address. Does it look like it came from the company claiming to have sent the e-mail? Meaning does it end in something like target.com, or is there a bunch of weird characters or out of place letters? If it's the latter, it's likely a scam.
Also be sure to look at the link. In the case of the fake Target text, the link they want you to click starts with target, but ends with us-gifts.club, not .com, .org, or .net. That's a red flag. If you receive something similar as an e-mail, and there's a button to click instead of a typed out link, hover your mouse over the button. It should pop up a little window that shows you the full web address embedded in the button. If it's a long address with a ton of random numbers, letters, and symbols, it's likely a scam.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission offers a number of other ways to spot a phishing scam, as well as ways to protect yourself on their website.
Be diligent, and stay safe.