Target, T-Mobile, Airbnb, United Airlines, Walmart, and Costco – Holiday Free Gift Card Scams of the Week

    Target credit card scam
    iStock

    It’s December already! This week we’ve found gift card scams featuring holiday rewards in which scammers are impersonating Target, T-Mobile, Airbnb, United Airlines, Walmart, and Costco. Would you have been able to spot all these scams?  

    Holiday Gift Card Scams

    We’ve seen gift card scams many times before. Posing as trusted brands, scammers send emails or texts claiming to guarantee you free gift cards or other rewards.

    They prompt you to claim the rewards via the attached phishing links, and then these links will take you to fake survey websites designed to record your personally identifiable information (PII), including your home address and credit card details.

    Scammers will then use your PII to commit cybercrimes, such as draining your bank account or stealing your identity. Below are some examples:

    Via Text

    We detected 34,351 scam texts promoting free gift cards last week, and among them the most impersonated brand was Target.

    Target

    • Need groceries? Clothes? Candles? A Target gift card could be yours for all that and more! Click >> <URL> (SNT- txt STOP to unsub)
    • Could you be the lucky recipient of this Target gift card?? Find out here >> <URL>  (SNT- txt STOP to unsub)
    • Have a big shopping list? See if you could get some help checking things off with a Target gift card HERE <URL> (SNT- txt STOP to unsub)
    • <NAME>, the Target gift card at the link could be worth as much as <MONEY>. Could it be yours? <URL> (TSN- txt NO to end)

    If you take the bait and click one of the links, you will be taken to a fake Target website that asks for your PII. Be careful and never click on any links from unknown sources!

    Safety tip: Double-check the web address to see if it’s legitimate. The URL of the genuine Target website is target.com.

    Protect Yourself from Scam Sites

    The truth is, there are lots of scams and scam sites on the internet and they’re getting even more difficult to detect with common sense alone. However, for an easy and reliable method of detecting and avoiding scam sites, check out Trend Micro ID Protection.         
     
    ID Protection can shield you from scams, fake and malware-infected websites, dangerous emails, phishing links, and lots more! If you come across something dangerous online, you’ll be alerted in real time so you’ll know to stay well clear.        

    Via Email

    Besides text, scammers also love to use email to spread fake gift card giveaway campaigns to trick people:

    T-Mobile/iPhone 15

    “You’ve won an Apple iPhone 15!” Although a free iPhone 15 does sound tempting, it’s too good to be true. This is not the first time scammers have posed as T-Mobile, either:

    T-Mobile iphone 15 scam

    Falsely claiming you’ve been chosen to participate in their loyalty program, scammers try to get you to click on the embedded button. Again, clicking will take you to a fake survey page where you could end up exposing all your credentials. Watch out!

    Airbnb

    What would you do if you had the chance to get a $100 Airbnb gift card for free by simply filling out an online survey? Think twice because this email is a scam:

    Airbnb gift card scam

    United Airlines

    We’ve seen scammers sending fake United Airlines loyalty program emails before, and this week they started again with fake gift card offers.

    United Airlines

    The button will only take you to a fake United Airlines survey page that asks for your PII. Don’t fall for the scam!

    Walmart

    Received a Walmart email that says you can get an exclusive offer? Don’t click! Scammers would be the only ones receiving something exclusive – your personal information!

    Walmart Reward Scam

    Costco

    Costco is yet another victim of impersonation scams. If you’ve seen such weird emails that say you can win a $1,000 Costco gift card, please be alerted. It’s a scam!

    Tips to Stay Safe Online

    • Free gifts or prizes are always a major red flag.
    • Double-check the sender’s mobile number and email address. Even if it seems legitimate, think twice before you take any action.    
    • Reach out to the company’s customer service directly for help and support.
    • Never click on dubious links or attachments! Stick to official websites and apps.
    • If you’ve accidentally revealed your PII somewhere, change your passwords immediately and inform your bank and/or other companies that scammers may contact them pretending to be you. 
    • Check if any of your PII has been leaked and secure your social media accounts using Trend Micro ID Protection.   
    • Finally, add an extra layer of protection to your devices with Trend Micro Maximum Security. Its Web Threat Protection, Ransomware Protection, Anti-phishing, and Anti-spam Protection will help you combat scams and cyberattacks.  

    If you’ve found this article an interesting and/or helpful read, please SHARE it with friends and family to help keep the online community secure and protected. Also, please consider leaving a comment or LIKE below. Happy holidays!

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    • By Jo Ann Starcevich | December 7, 2023
    • By Kris Roberts | December 6, 2023
    • By Marjorie Griggs | December 3, 2023