Macy's email scam sample
Image: Better Business Bureau (BBB)
March 30, 2016

Millions of people all across the country shop at the department store Macy's every year. Now, con artists are banking on the store's popularity to target unsuspecting consumers with an email phishing scam.

Here's how the scam works:

You get an email with a subject line of something like: "Macys.com Order #5698 ready for delivery." You don't remember ordering anything from Macy's recently, but you open the message anyway. Inside, there's no mention of the delivery. Instead, the email tells you that you won a prize in the store's "monthly give-away." All you have to do is click on a link within the email to claim your prize.

Don't click on the link! Emails posing as business giveaways are a popular way for scammers to transmit malicious software (malware) to your computer for the purpose of stealing sensitive personal information including Social Security and bank account numbers.

Remember, if an offer seems suspicious or too good to be true, it probably is! It's easy to steal the colors, logos and header of any other established organization. Scammers can also make links look like they lead to legitimate websites and emails appear to come from a different sender.

When in doubt, do a quick Web search. If the giveaway is a scam, this is likely to reveal an alert or bring you to the organization's real website, where they may have posted further information. Also, look for a mismatched subject line and email body. Many of these scams have an email subject line promising one thing, but the content of the email is about something completely different.

Keep in mind that legitimate businesses, including Macy's, will not ask for credit card numbers or banking information for coupons or giveaways. If they do ask for personal information, like an address or email, be sure there's a link to their privacy policy.

Be skeptical of requests for account numbers, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, or any other personal information. Never reveal sensitive information to any one you do not know, especially if you suspect fraud.

Email fraud@macys.com to report suspicious emails or calls involving Macy's. Suspected scams should also be reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

References: BBB scam alert