If you’ve received a text message claiming that you’ve won a $1,000 gift card from Walmart, you’re not alone. Millions on millions of similar text messages are sent, falsely representing different companies for various amounts of money.

Some people may know better than to bite on these scams, however many people fall victim.

For people who fall for these scams, many times they have to jump through hoops and climb ladders (not literally) to get their money stolen.

Here are some common steps people go through to get their “$1,000 gift card,” aka get their money stolen:

Step 1:
Follow the link in the text message

Step 2:
Submit a vast amount of personal information

Step 3:
Go to the next website you’re directed to.

Step 4:
Participate in the of number of offers in order to become eligible for the gift card

Step 5:
Repeat steps 1 through 3, most likely.

Step 6:
Recruit at least three other people to complete the offers

According to the Commercial Appeal report, they’ve never heard of anyone actually receiving said $1,000 gift card. However, even if you did receive said $1,000 gift card, wouldn’t all of the work, time and money you’ve spent on all of the steps above really make that gift card meaningless? And let’s not forget about the amount of money you may not realize is being, or going to be, stolen from you because you’ve given up so much personal information.

Well, there’s some good news and some bad news.

The good news…

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has put some of these scammers out of business. The agency announced settlements in February with two different groups who sent out these fraudulent text messages. In one case, 12 companies were ordered to give up the full amount of money they “earned” from the scam – $2.5 million.

The bad news…

The FTC has caught more of these scam artists, however there are plenty more out there trying to steal your money.

Don’t let them though!

I realize that financial times are tough right now for many individuals and families. Maybe you’ve lost your job or just can’t pay your bills resulting in debt up to your eyeballs. Though these promises of “1,000 gift cards” may be enticing, you need to stay away from them. If something seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

Instead, I advise you to consider bankruptcy.

By filing for bankruptcy, you can either discharge all of your debt through a Chapter 7 or lump it into an affordable 3-5 year repayment plan through a Chapter 13. After the bankruptcy is complete, you’re free of that debt bogging you down and are less vulnerable to fall for one of these disastrous scams.

On top of that, our law firm has access to a great 14-week program that will help you re-establish and rebuild your credit the right way. This program, “7 Steps to a 720,” is offered free to our clients.

The Better Business Bureau also offers these tips to avoid falling victim to these scams:

  • Delete unwanted text messages that ask you to enter a special code or to confirm or provide personal information. Legitimate companies won’t send you a text asking for sensitive information
  • Don’t reply since that will confirm to the crooks that they have a good number
  • Don’t click on links in the text message. Links can take you to spoof sites that look real but will steal your personal information
  • Report spam texts to your carrier. Copy the original message and foreword it to 7726 (SPAM) free of charge, if you are an AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon or Sprint subscriber

If you have any questions or if you’re considering filing for bankruptcy, please fill out the “Get in Touch” form below or call us at (901) 327-2100. One of our experienced Memphis bankruptcy attorneys will be happy to speak with you about your situation, free of charge.