If it wasn't enough that Target's many holiday-time shoppers had to find out their credit and debit card numbers and other personal information were stolen, the revelation that even more customers were victims made a consumer disaster into a mega disaster.
And now it gets worse. Target-related scams are flying around like crazy.
Have you gotten an offer of a $25 store credit at Target for taking a survey? If you haven't you're lucky. I've gotten a few different versions already.
While the same advice as always applies when it comes to dodging scams - don't click on links in emails, don't give out personal information, etc. - it is possible because of the information the thieves have that the pitch to victims will be believable. And given the enormous number of people involved the potential for people to fall victim in this next round is quite high.
Remember that official information related to this theft is posted to Target's website. Even if you get an email that seems official, it's best to check there without following an emailed link.
Here is some advice about how to spot Target-related scams that was dispensed by the Better Business Bureau service Eastern Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont:
- Don't believe what you see. Scammers use technology to make emails and phone calls appear to come from a reputable source. Just because it looks credible does not mean it's safe.
- Be wary of unexpected emails that contain links or attachments. As always, do not click on links or open the files in unfamiliar emails.
- Watch for bad grammar: Typo-filled text messages and emails are usually a dead giveaway that it's from a scammer, not a corporation.
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About the author
Mitch Lipka is one of America's leading consumer journalists and advocates. He is an expert in product safety, recalls, scams, and helping consumers get out of jams. He is a nationally known consumer columnist and runs TheConsumerChronicle.com. He lives in Worcester. You can find him on Facebook or reach him at ConsumerNews@Aol.com