Advisory: How to Report and Block TargetContest SMS Spam

Target works on removing fake contest websites targeting customers

By on November 22nd, 2012 09:30 GMT

Over the past few days, thousands of users have received SMS messages in which they were informed that they’ve won a free $1,000 Target gift card. Target is doing everything it can to remove the scam websites, but in the meantime, experts provide some advice for those targeted by the scam.

As a reminder, the scammy TargetContest.com messages look something like this:

“Your entry last month WON! Go to TargetContests.com enter winning code 3847 to claim your FREE $1000.00 Target gift card within 24hrs.”

Target representatives told Scambook that all the messages similar to the one involving the TargetContest.com website are likely a scam. However, users who are unsure about a promotional offer can contact Target representatives at www.target.com/contactus.

Scambook experts predict that around 100,000 users might receive the fake TargetContest.com SMSs, so it’s important to know what to do in case these messages land in your inbox.

First of all, you must simply ignore it. Don’t click on the link and don’t reply to it. If you want to help law enforcement combat such spam campaigns, you can forward them to the FBI to the 7726 number (SPAM on the phone’s keypad).

After forwarding the message, you should receive an automated reply asking for the phone number of the spammer.

Furthermore, by reporting unsolicited messages to your wireless carrier, you can dispute unauthorized charges in case you get tricked into signing up for premium mobile services.

Depending on your carrier, you can benefit from several reporting or blocking services.

For instance, if your operator is AT&T, forward the scam TargetContest message to the 7726 number.

T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon allow you to block unsolicited SMSs coming from certain numbers. If your company is Sprint, you must simply send a text message to 9999 with the message “block [number].”

For Verizon, log into your online account, and access the Call & Message Blocking page under My Plans & Services, Verizon Safeguard. Then, enter the number you want to block.

T-Mobile offers a similar service called Message Blocking that can be accessed by navigating to Manage, Plans & Services, and Change Services from your online account.

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