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Scam alert: Attorney general warns of phony $100 gift card offers

People in the Charlotte area are receiving postcards offering $100 gift cards for Wal-Mart or Target, but the N.C. Attorney General’s office is warning they appear to be a repeat of a scam that surfaced last year.

“Great News! You are eligible to receive $100.00 in gift savings good at Wal-Mart or Target! Call Toll-Free now for complete details,” the card reads. Upon calling the number, people are told that they can receive the gift card if they pay a fee for shipping and handling and give their credit or debit card number.

A reader contacted the Observer after receiving such a card and mailed it to the paper.

A spokeswoman for the N.C. Attorney General’s office said the agency received complaints about similar cards last February. Media reports this week from Wichita, Kan., also show the same cards have been mailed to residents there, suggesting the scam is widespread.

“Once you’ve shared your credit card number, there’s little to stop the group behind the post cards from racking up more charges on your account,” the N.C. Attorney General’s office wrote in a warning sheet to consumers. “Consumers who’ve fallen for the scam report being charged up to $100 at once, or finding smaller charges appear on their bill each month.”

Similar scams have also been reported using emails and text messages to entice people to give up financial information in exchange for promised gift cards.

If you’ve received such a card, you can report it to the N.C. Attorney General by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM. If you have already called and provided your card information, contact your credit or debit card company.

Portillo: 704-358-5041; Twitter: @ESPortillo
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