CHARLESTON — West Virgini Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is warning consumers about an email scam that promises its recipients a free pizza from Pizza Hut.
The scam, which originally circulated in early November, has been making the rounds again, prompting the Better Business Bureau to list it in its December consumer advisory.
The email tells recipients that in celebration of Pizza Hut’s 55th anniversary, the restaurant is offering a free personal pan pizza at any one of its stores. To get the free pizza, the recipient must click on a link to download a coupon. But instead of downloading a coupon, the link downloads malware that can potentially steal personal or financial information stored on the computer.
“We see this type of scam repeatedly – everything from diabetes testing supplies to vacations has shown up at one time or another as an email scam,” Morrisey said in a news release. “Scammers are becoming increasingly craftier at hiding their fraud through legitimate-looking email messages.”
Morrisey's office says that if you receive one of these emails, don’t click on the link for a “coupon” or other promised reward. Instead, delete the message immediately.
The Federal Trade Commission suggests consumers look out for some of these tell-tale signs that an email offer may be fake before clicking on any embedded link for a free prize or reward:
- The message was located in your junk mail folder;
- The email didn’t come from a sender with an official corporate email address;
- The company supposedly offering the freebie doesn’t mention the promotion on its official website; and/or
- The link that appears in the coupon doesn’t go to the company’s official website.
“This is an especially busy time of year, and all of us are looking to save a little money and time,” Morrisey said. “It’s important to always be wary of these unsolicited offers. If something looks too good to be true, it probably is.”