COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Whether you’re shopping for the holidays early or waiting for doorbuster sales on Black Friday, most people love a good deal, including scammers.

The Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio warns that con artists are impersonating well-known companies and “offering special discounts” through text messages.

Here’s how it works. You receive a text message from a popular company offering a “too good to be true” discount. For example: “Due to the pandemic, Hulu is giving everyone a free one-year subscription to help you stay at home. Get yours here.”

According to the BBB, consumers have reported receiving many of these texts on their phones with deals ranging from free or discounted services to gift cards and cash.

Other texts claim to be Walmart, Amazon, Costco, USPS, and more. Of course, these messages don’t originate from these reputable companies.

The texts come from scammers trying to steal your personal information. The BBB said if you click on the link, you may be prompted to a lookalike website asking for your login ID and password. With that information, con artists can access your accounts and make purchases through your saved payment methods.

You can avoid being scammed by adhering to the following

  • Treat messages from unknown senders with caution. if you haven’t given a company permission to text you, it’s probably a scam.
  • Don’t click on links from strangers. if you click on the link, you could download malware to your device.
  • Confirm deals directly with the company before you accept. if you’re hoping the deal is legitimate…call, email, or check the company’s official website.
  • Install antivirus software on your computer *and mobile devices. scams can come via email or text message.

Protecting your devices is key to avoiding falling victim to this phishing scam.

If you receive a text message with one of these deals or a similar discount offer, the BBB also recommends you alert the company. AT&T and Verizon are asking consumers to forward suspicious messages to 7726 Spam.