RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Who wouldn't want a $100 gift card from Walmart or Target? While it sounds good, if you see an offer in your mailbox, you should probably not respond.
John Pratt received one. "I thought it would be good if you could $100 card. My curiosity led me into calling them," he says.
For a $100 shopping spree, at Target or Walmart he says, he at least had to try. He called the number on the mailing - it only took a matter of seconds and red flags went up.
"They said, 'We need a credit card,' and I figured that was a scam from them saying that," he explains.
Pratt's instincts were correct. We called Walmart and Target and both confirm the offer is not from them. Walmart sent a statement that says in part,"It is unfortunate some people use the good name of reputable businesses for their own personal gain."
Postal Inspector Michael Romano said other things immediately stood out; there is no return address, no website, and no real way to contact the sender outside of a phone number and what's supposed to be a claim number. He says there is a good reason why you don't want to call the number: crooks are waiting.
"Someone tracks and traces your number and then could call you back, to offer you more information, and it turns into another scam," said Romano.
Inspector Romano says usually these offers end up being tied to Mystery Shopping scams and crooks will try to trick you by telling you the retailers are conducting research and need your help. "They are going to lure you one way or another to send additional money and usually that is in the way of a money order or wire transfer," Romano explains.
As for that phone number in the offer, Romano called and so did we, the line was disconnected.
He says it's typical. Crooks set up shop and quickly disconnect the number, trying to dupe as many people as possible and sadly, some people will be fooled. "I am sure there are some that will but there are others like myself, that will call your station complaining about this," Pratt says.
If you see a similar offer the best thing, trash it. If you think there is some truth to it, don't be so quick to respond, call Walmart or Target to get some answers. Another reason not to call the number in the offer, the Postal Inspector says crooks will sometimes collect and sell your information.