Watch out for text message scam, Memphis man says - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Watch out for text message scam, Memphis man says

By Nick Kenney - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A Mid-South man thought he had won a free Walmart gift card, but a text message announcing the award was actually a scam.

It started with a text message, leading John Carnes to believe it was his lucky day.

"It said that I had won a gift certificate card to Wal-Mart for 200 dollars," he said.

Carnes jotted down some notes, including the phone number to call to claim his prize and an accompanying code number.  When he called, Carnes said the operator on the other end of the line demanded $9.95 before the gift card would be sent.

"I said, 'Before I can receive it?' And I said, 'Why do I have to pay $9.95?' He said, 'Well, that's our tradition,'" Carnes said.

The operator told Carnes he would have to place the amount on his debit card or credit card, and that the gift card would not be sent until he did.  Eventually, Carnes became frustrated, hung up, and called Walmart, who told him the text message was not legitimate.

By phone, a Wal-Mart spokesperson confirmed to Action News 5 that the retailer does not award prizes via text message.  Meanwhile, consumer advocates say you should never give strangers your credit card number or pay for a prize.

"I don't want anyone else to get scammed and lose everything that they have this close to Christmas, and I know people are going through different changes this time of year," Carnes said.

If you do receive a such a text message, consumer advocates say, you should delete it.

Copyright 2009 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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