BBB warns of new SMS scam with ‘free gift’ offer – NBC Chicago

If you’ve recently received a strange text message on your phone from a number you don’t recognize with the promise of a “free gift” and a link to click, the good news is that you’re not alone.

The bad news is that you didn’t receive a free gift. According to the Better Business Bureau, it’s a scam and it’s dangerous to click.

“Over the past few weeks, the BBB Scam Tracker has received numerous reports of an SMS scam that attempts to trick people with a promise of a ‘free gift,'” says Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago. and northern Illinois. “That could be particularly dangerous.”

How the SMS scam works

According to the BBB, the texts related to the scam read: “Your bill is paid for June. Thank you, here is a small gift for you”, followed by an unknown link to click.

However, the text does not specify the bill you paid, the total amount of the bill, or who the bill came from.

The BBB says that, as part of the scam, a message like this may actually be a group text sent to a dozen or more other people.

According to the BBB, the purpose of the text is to obtain your personal information, which puts you at risk of identity theft. Some versions of the scam direct you to a website asking you to confirm your identity or credit card information in order to receive your “free gift”.

How Avoid the SMS scam

The BBB recommends watching for these red flags, to avoid falling for this particular scam:

  • Do not click on links from numbers you don’t recognize and also beware of links forwarded by your friends. Scammers often use links and an attractive offer or threat as part of a phishing scam, hoping to generate an emotional response.
  • If you think the text message is from a company you do business with, call the company to confirm — before clicking on a link.
  • Remember that companies need your permission to text you. If you’ve never agreed to receive text messages from a company, it’s probably a scam.
  • If the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

If you have received an SMS scam, whether or not you lost money, the BBB asks you to report it at

NBC Chicago

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