Email has long been a favorite tools of scammers, and they get better at using it for their illicit deeds every day.
One frequent scam that’s making the rounds again targets Sam’s Club members by sending them emails telling them they’ve won a “Sam’s Club Reward”.
I’ve received a deluge of questions about the legitimacy of these emails so I thought it would be best to simply write a blog post about it.
According to the emails, all a potential victim needs to do in order to claim their (usually) $50 reward is click a link in the email to redeem the reward at the Sam’s Club website.
The problem is the links in the email won’t actually take you to the Sam’s Club website!
Instead, they’ll take you to a fake, but realistic-looking knockoff website that contains a fake login form for stealing your Sam’s website login information.
And for good measure the fraudulent web page might even download malware onto your PC.
Of course Sam’s Club does send legitimate emails to their members at times so you need to pay attention when you receive an email that appears to be from them.
Luckily, it’s very easy to determine whether a “Sam’s Club” email is legit or not.
Take a look at this screenshot of a fake email I recently received:
As you can see, the email address in the “Sender” field isn’t even a Sam’s Club email address. That tip-off alone is enough to let you know the email is a fake.
But even if the sender’s email address had appeared to be legitimate, that’s still no guarantee that the email was really sent from Sam’s because email addresses are easily spoofed.
But don’t worry, you can quickly determine whether the three links in the email are legitimate by simply hovering your mouse over each of those links in turn.
If the email is legitimate EVERY link in the email will have samsclub.com as the domain name in the link.
Therefore, if you hover your mouse over a link and see something like http://sams-club-rewards.someotherdomain.com or any domain name besides samsclub.com, you’ll know with 100% certainty that the email is fraudulent.
If that’s the case simply delete the email and think nothing else about it.
In the case of the above email you would see that the links are really pointing to the same domain that’s listed in the sender’s email address, which of course means the email is obviously fake.
But what if the links in an email you receive actually appear to point to the real Sam’s Club website?
Well, I still recommend against clicking on those links because clicking ANY link in an email is inherently risky.
Instead, simply visit the Sam’s Club website directly and log into your account. If the email you received was legitimate you’ll see a notice containing the same message that was in the email.
Bottom line: Sam’s is a great place to shop, but if you’re a member you’ll need to constantly be on the lookout for fake “Sam’s Club” emails.
Bonus tip #1: Click here to read about several more scams and hoaxes that are making the rounds right now.
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