While spam and robo calls have been an issue for a long time, scam texts are getting to be a big problem as well. Complaints about text scams are on the rise. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has reported that 2022 is on track to be the first year in which more people have reported scammers contacting them by text rather than phone. Here are some popular text scams to watch out for.
Wrong number text scams
We’d like to warn you about a new type of text scam. It’s not a text you might normally be suspicious of. It’s rather an innocent-looking text that looks like it just came to the wrong number. Once the target responds that it’s the wrong number, the scammer tries to strike up a text conversation. When a scammer has a victim hooked in a text conversation, they may try to get them to invest in cryptocurrency, provide personal information, or send a payment.
Suspicious account activity text scams
You may receive a text scam with a notice of suspicious activity on a financial account. If you get a text like this, do not click on any links in the message or reply. If you think the text might be valid, contact the company via a trusted website or a trusted phone number. Most legitimate companies will not contact you in this manner.
Cryptocurrency text scams
As the interest in cryptocurrency continues to grow, so do cryptocurrency scams. A crypto text scam may involve a fake prize, giveaway, contest, or investment opportunity. A scammer tries to get a victim to send in a cryptocurrency ATM payment which is untraceable. Cryptocurrency ATMs are popping up all over in busy spots such as convenience stores and gas stations. Remember, no legitimate prize promoter will require you to pay with cryptocurrency.
Amazon text scams
The FTC has been warning consumers for many years about impersonation scams. They are calls or texts where a scammer falsely claims to be with a trusted business or another organization. The scammer then tries to solicit payment or personal information from a target.
As phishing attempts get more prevalent, scammers are now posing as Amazon representatives sending text messages to Amazon customers in an attempt to steal valuable personal or financial information. The scammer might claim to be checking about suspicious activity on an account or even asking you to update your payment information, among other things. Sadly, over the past year, people aged 60 and up were over four times more likely than younger people to report losing money to Amazon impersonators.
We cannot emphasize enough the danger of sharing any personal or financial information with someone you do not know. Rather than tapping links in an SMS that says it’s from Amazon or providing any credit card information, contact the company separately through their trusted website to be sure the correspondence is legitimate.
Text scams are on the rise, here are 5 steps to avoid getting scammed
- Be skeptical of a text asking you to click links, and share personal information, usernames, passwords, or one-time codes that can be used to access your account.
- Enable multifactor authentication to your accounts when possible.
- When the legitimacy of a potential contact is in question, contact the company via a trusted phone number or through a trusted website.
- Block the number when getting text spam.
- Consider a robo text and robocall blocker app, such as RoboKiller.
Keep your guard up to avoid getting scammed
Suspicious or fraudulent text messages may contain links to websites that look like they are legitimate companies, but upon closer inspection are not. Fraudulent text messages may also have typos or grammatical errors.
Our best advice to you is to ignore and delete any texts from numbers you don’t recognize. The FTC emphasizes that legitimate companies such as Amazon or your financial institution will not ask for personal or account information over a text message. Report any suspicion of a text scam or other type of fraud to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.