Scam Alert: Calls, Texts & Emails

Thought you were safe because you didn’t shop at Target during the holiday season? It turns out, you’re at risk nevertheless – and not just because the hack apparently affected customers who shopped outside of the date range previously reported.

In the wake of the hack which news reports say affected one in three American adults, many banks and credit card companies are sending customers new cards and taking steps to verify the identities of card holders – and scammers are jumping on the opportunity to get involved.


The scams


1. Calls and text messages from “credit card companies” You might receive a call or text message advising you that due to security precautions, your credit card has been blocked until the “bank” or “credit card company” can verify your account information. The caller or text message might ask you to call a number to verify your information.

2. Calls from “Target” or a company “representing Target” The caller will ask you to verify your info – including name, address, Social Security number – to check whether or not your account was compromised by the hack.

3. Email from “Target” You might receive an email purportedly from Target asking you to click on a link to verify your information. Scammers are sending emails that link to sites that can expose your computer to a virus that steals personal information.


What to do

Requests for personal info Whether it’s a call, a text or an email, don’t give any of your information, including credit card number, address, email address, or Social Security number. Instead, call the company directly (look for the number on the back of your card).

Links in emails Never click on a link in an email that does not come from a friend or trusted source (and if it comes from a friend or trusted source but looks fishy, don’t click.). That said, scammers are using technology to make emails look as if they come from a reputable source. Don’t assume it’s safe. Instead of clicking on the link, call the company or navigate directly to its website by typing in the URL. If you think an email was sent by scammers, forward it to

Click here to read the Better Business Bureau’s post-hack anti-scammer tips for Target non customers and customers

Click here to read updated Q&As on Target’s sit, including the latest information on scams

Click here to read more about protecting your information online


4 responses to “Scam Alert: Calls, Texts & Emails

  1. I’d like to suggest you do an article on hacking bluetoothed hearing aids and other medical devices including heart monitors, pacemakers. I have had the experience of having two hackers hack my phone, laptop, tablet via bluetooth. With the right equipment and software they have a reach of 300′ ! Currently use Bluetooth firewall on Android phone and tablet. Don’t know of anything similar for laptop. Have forwarded details to the ISP here [Telstra Australia] who manage the internet backbone. It is illegal to do this but detecting bluetooth hacking and packet injection [mousejacking] is difficult, but not impossible.

  2. I received a package yesterday from someone who is unknown to me. Inside was
    an IPad. It is in working order but is locked.
    It says to call a number, but I am afraid to call for fear of getting scammed.

    1. Hi Catharine, that does sound like a possible scam – though we haven’t heard about a scam involving actual iPads (most involve a promise of a free iPad if you give your information). You could try googling the phone number you’ve been instructed to call; it it’s scammy, there’s a good chance someone else will have reported it, and it will come up in a Google search.

  3. Also watch out for popups on your computer that tell you to click on them because “your computer is at risk. DON’T click–hackers will install adware or malware on your computer. If you can’t get rid of the popups, restart your computer. Also, beware callers who pretend to be Microsoft telling you your computer is at risk. Microsoft WILL NOT call you.

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