Thursday, October 11, 2012

Another new scam from Best Buy

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Another new scam from Best Buy
Best Buy is the worst buy. It's a place you sometimes have to go to, but a place you wish you could avoid. It's service is terrible -- although many of the employees are good people. But Best Buy is constantly trying to rip you off.
If it's not merchandise that doesn't work, it's a new one that Best Buy started to scam $9.99 a month from your cell phone. 
They text you from a phone number 951-662-9744 claiming"Your entry last month has won! Go to  www.BestBuyContest.com and enter your winning code 8372 to claim your free $1,000 Best Buy gift card within 24 hours."
The Best Buy statement is clear. "Claim" your free "$1,000 Best Buy gift card."
There is no gift card, of course. It's a scam to put a $9.99 charge on your monthly cell phone bill, to draw people in so they can fleece you of money and in return send you 3 worthless coupons you don't want.
Here's what you see.
First, they tell you to fill out their form. Then, they take you to a page where they force you to enter your cell phone number, twice.




Pass
Join the exclusive Couponz Mall Club today to get the latest coupon text alerts! ...and start saving today!  Print, download coupons or sign up for text coupons (3msgs/wk) Portal subscription $9.99/month for unlimited coupons.

At the bottom of the screen is this disclosure in small print, that is difficult to read:

Summary terms: You must be the account holder of this device or have permission from the account holder. AWCC and U.S. Cellular users cannot download coupons to their handset. Users on these carriers may only print or sign-up for text coupons. This is an auto renewing subscription service that will continue until cancelled anytime by texting STOP to short code 20834. Available to users over 18 for $9.99 per month charged on your wireless account or deducted from your prepaid balance for unlimited coupon subscription on AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, Virgin Mobile USA, Cincinnati Bell, AWCC and U.S. Cellular. Print coupons from portal: all carriers eligible. Text coupon services (3 messages per week): all carriers eligible. Download coupons to handset: AT&T, T-Mobile Sprint and Cincinnati Bell. For Couponz Mall support: text HELP to 20834 , email or call 1800 235 7105 for automated help or call 1800 416 6129 for a live operator. Message and data rates may apply. Product is not compatible with all cell phone models. Your phone must support ringtones and wallpapers, be Internet-enabled, and have text messaging capability. Call for your money back within first 30 days of service if you are not satisfied. By signing up for this service and entering your personal PIN Code delivered to the cell phone number supplied by you on this website, you acknowledge that you are agreeing to the Terms and Conditions. Click here for Terms & Conditions. For Privacy Policy Click here

Wow! What a scam.

So I didn't submit my cell number, but I am sure that won't matter. Scammers are always trying to get your cell number to add the $9.99 fee to your cell phone service.

If you notice on the top left of the screen above, the word "PASS" is published in small letters. They don't tell you, but if you click that it will take you to another screen where they ask you to take a survey.

Frankly, don't waste your time. When a retailer like Best Buy has to resort to scams to rope people in to steal $9.99 a month from their phone line -- forcing unsuspecting people who believe they have won -- WON -- $1,000 in a Best Buy card, it's pathetic. Really disgusting that Best Buy has to resort to this kind of scam.

When you try to go around the scam, they try to cell you a new cell phone, probably to add another $9.99 scam fee to your cell phone account, hoping you won't notice.

Really, Best Buy. You are so sleazy! Disgusting. Maybe you should shut down your stores and find something honest to do. You disgust me with your tactics.

When you resist, they take you to several screens, including one that reads:


Last Step

Tell us where to ship your $1000 BestBuy Gift Card.

Of course, when you hit SUBMIT, Best Buy takes you to yet another scam page where they ask you to purchase more worthless services. Sign up for the Disney Movie Club -- probably at some outrageous fee. Or, sign up for something stupid (typical Best Buy strategy) called Onlingo, which also costs an arm and a leg.

Beware folks. When you sign up for anything Best Buy, they won't give you anything free. But it could end up costing another $9.99 a month on your cell phone bill.

I bet the majority of people who get scammed don't even realize it, because after the first page, the scam fee of $9.99 is never mentioned again. The ability to STOP the fee is also no longer detailed or offered. (Just send the word STOP to short code 20834. Do it just in case, anyway, as a safety measure because you can't trust Best Buy to do the right thing. You should receive a message that either your susbcription has stopped, or you will get a message that reads "You are not subscribed to any services. Call 1-800-235-7105 or email help@sms-helpdesk.com. 

Probably more scam nets to take your money!

-- Ray Hanania

2 comments:

Brian said...

Ray,

With all due respect, a little research should be done into this before pontificating.

This is a classic example of SMS slamming/spamming. This has nothing to do with Best Buy, the offer is just being used as a hook by the scammer to build credibility.

When you run a whois on the domain name, the record is proxied. Nearly all reputable business have a public whois record, proxied records should be a big red flag for any domain that transacts funds.

Contact your carrier to see what they can do to mitigate these messages in the future, and file a form 1088G with the FCC.

https://esupport.fcc.gov/ccmsforms/form1088.action?form_type=1088G

Best Buy is scummy, but they usually shy away from illegal practices. ;-)

Regards,

-B

Kimberly Lazor said...

My 11 yr old daughter, fell for this apparent scam, as the $9.99 charge just showed up on my phone bill. Thank you for posting this, at least now, I know what it is, and what to do about it.

thanks!