Better Business Bureau: Beware of fake $1,000 gift card offers

Aug. 4, 2012 at 3:04 a.m.

Here we go again; scammers have used the Better Business Bureau name to lure consumers into giving their personal information. This time, they are combining that with the fake $1,000 gift card offer that has circulated via text message using company names such as Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy.

Here's a sample of the text:

Dear XXXX,

On behalf of Better Business Bureau you have been issued a $1,000 Visa Gift Card free of charge.

Card type: Visa Gift Card

Issued to: XXX

Issuing branch: Amarillo, Texas

The good news is that the bureau's phishing experts have determined that this scam is not likely to infect your computer with a virus or steal your Social Security number, banking or credit card information. Instead, the experts said, it's likely just a ploy to get your contact information, which the scammer will then sell to marketing companies.

The bureau offers the following advice for approaching any suspicious email:• Never reply to an email that is asking you for personal information. Never reply to an email that is asking you for personal information.

• Do not click on any links from sources that you are unfamiliar with. Do not click on any links from sources that you are unfamiliar with.

• Keep anti-spyware, anti-virus and anti-spam software up to date.Keep anti-spyware, anti-virus and anti-spam software up to date.

Magazine sales

Customers who bought into phone solicitations for magazine subscriptions from Coastal Readers Service, Inc. of Dallas, are now complaining to the bureau that the business deceptively trapped them into multi-year contracts and is sending bills that often exceed $1,000 in charges.

The bureau has received more than 100 complaints from all across the country since September 2011. Although Coastal Readers Service answers complaints and provides refunds in most cases, the troubling complaints continue. Check at for this company's current status with the bureau.

Child care center complaints

As a new school year approaches and summer camps wrap up, many parents will start looking for other child care arrangements.

In 2011, BBB received more than 1,100 complaints nationwide against child care centers.

When looking for a child care facility, parents should first determine what kind of facility they need: full- or part-time, in-home or facility-based.

Consider the location in relation to home and work, traffic flow, the hours, cost and educational opportunities for the children.

BBB also advises parents to: Research any child care facility you are considering and look up its Business Review at You can also check with organizations such as the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services at

100 years old

Carrie A. Hurt, president and chief executive officer of Better Business Bureau serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin and interim president and CEO at Council of Better Business Bureaus, had the special privilege of ringing the New York Stock Exchange Closing Bell on July 27.

This bell-ringing event celebrates 100 years of the bureau's efforts to advance trust in the marketplace, and honors the high standards upheld by the bureau's accredited businesses and charities. Things certainly have changed in the past 100 years. Our standards are tougher. Our business reports are more detailed, and the technology has changed drastically. More than 96 percent of consumers now use the computer to obtain bureau services.

Alan Bligh is the executive director of the Better Business Bureau in Corpus Christi. Contact him by email at



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