Postcard ploy: Free $100 gift card scam

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (WITI) — The holidays are right around the corner, but before your shopping cart hits the aisles — be aware of a  new scam.

It starts with a postcard that reads: "Great news, you are eligible to receive a $100 gift savings good at Wal-Mart or Target."

Part of the gift card scam postcard Denise Johnson received in the mail.

Denise Johnson was thrilled.

"It was at time when I wasn't working. I thought,  'Hey, $100 from Target or Wal-Mart — I could really use this money,'" said Denise.

So, Denise called the toll-free number on the postcard.

"It was a gentleman on the phone and he proceeded to tell me what I won," explained Denise.

After that, the man on the phone told Denise how to get the gift card.

"All she would have to do is pay a small delivery and handling fee to receive the card. All they needed was her credit card number," said U.S. postal inspector Tammy Mayle.

Denise gave her credit card number, but immediately became skeptical.

"They asked for her date of birth, social security number, information about her and, then, she knew something wasn't right," said Mayle.

Denise hung up and called her credit card company right away.

"As soon as he asked for the credit card number — I should have hung up the phone," Denise admitted.

Denise learned her lesson.

Consumers need to be vigilant in protecting their personal information as the holidays approach.

"If you're supposed to be getting something for free there should be not be any charge," Mayle said.

Neither Target or Wal-Mart knew anything about this scam.

If you question whether or not an offer is legitimate, call the stores being mentioned first and ask if they know anything about it.