I’ve seen reports previously about telephone scams where thieves call people and tell them there is a problem with their bank account and they need to verify information. People seem to trust that a phone call is legitimate and readily hand over personal information, including account numbers and passwords. The results of this of course are disastrous.
This scam seems to have migrated over to include gift cards as we’ve just seen a report of someone receiving a phone call claiming they won a Wal-Mart gift card and a credit card was necessary to complete the award. They of course never received the gift card but instead were treated to a large charge on their credit card bill.
A simple rule holds true for avoiding scams, whether it is through email or by phone; don’t trust any information unless you initiated it. If you receive an email asking you to click a link, don’t trust it. The safest way is to go to the website directly by typing the URL into your browser. If you receive a phone call asking you for information, unless you are familiar with the person, don’t trust them. Find the number yourself, call the institution, and verify the information.