CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- If you have received a text message saying you've won a $1,000 Target gift card, you could be in danger of identity theft.
The text message provides a link to a fake Target website where recipients can "claim the prize" by entering personal information such as their name, address and social security number.
The West Virginia Attorney General's Office has received numerous reports concerning the scam, according to Assistant Attorney General Matthew Stonestreet.
"Most consumers don't fall prey to it because they understand it's a scam with the intent to try to get their personal information," he said. "If you were to fall for it, you would get nothing, and the scammers would have your information and could commit identity theft pretty easily."
The texts are sent from a nonworking number and supply a three-digit code to enter at the website. The misleading site even uses Target's logo and mascot, but has no connection to the company, Stonestreet said.
"Target has absolutely nothing to do with it. This has happened on and off for the past couple of years. In May, a similar Best Buy text was going around," he said. "The truth is, the scam could be conducted from an international location that's difficult to track."
Scams that use text messaging to access victims are known as "smishing," and cellphone numbers can be easy to acquire online, Stonestreet said.
The Consumer Protection & Anti-Trust Division of the Attorney General's Office is advising those who have received the message to delete it immediately and avoid clicking any links included in the message, in addition to refraining from supplying "any personal or otherwise identifiable information."