Scammers use these methods to manipulate unsuspecting people into opening links that download dangerous malware or steal personal information – things like your password, account number, or Social Security number. Meaning they can access your email, bank, or other accounts.
Top Text Message Scams, According to Reader's Digest:
1. Pretending to be someone you might know
Some scammers attempt to trick you into thinking you might know them by sending you a seemingly innocent or friendly message.
An example of this text message tactic: “Beautiful weekend coming up. Wanna go out? Sophie gave me your number. Check out my profile here: [URL]”.
Remember to never click on the link as it can be a method used to get your personal information or download malware on your devices.
2. Package Delivery Text Messages
It’s always a relief receiving a message that your package has been delivered. However, it’s best to take a second look before clicking on any links.
A new text message scam trend has been making its way in which people have reported receiving messages saying: “[Name], we came across a parcel/package from [a recent month] pending for you. Kindly claim ownership and confirm for delivery here, and then a link.”
Clicking on the link and inputting personal information potentially allows cybercriminals to steal your identity, empty your bank account, or install malicious malware on your phone.
Click here to learn how to never fall for a package delivery scam.
3. Impersonating your bank
The most alarming new trend is a text message scam that appears to be from your own bank. Cybercriminals often disguise themselves as trusted institutions like government agencies, your bank or utility company to trick you into giving up your personal information and passwords.
The message may read something like: “Dear customer, Bank of America is closing your bank account. Please confirm your PIN at [URL] to keep your account activated. Messages of this nature also contain urgent language such as “If you don’t reply within 24 hours, your account will be closed.”
Always remember that it’s best to contact your bank directly, via contact information on Google, to inquire about any messages. Never contact the company via the information within the message you received.
Click here to learn more about fake bank text message scams.
4. Fake Messages from Amazon
Shopped on amazon recently? You're not alone - Scammers are well aware of our tendency to shop frequently on this popular website and have devised schemes to trick us Amazon shoppers into giving away our credit card information!
According to Channel 4 News, individuals have reported receiving multiple text messages that appear to come from Amazon with purchase or shipping confirmation of an item, which they have not actually bought, along with a number to call to “cancel and get a refund”.
Tom Stephens, president of the Better Business Bureau says, “this is a scam that started circulating about a year ago. The scammers are after your credit card number and you should not call the number listed in the text. The scammers can be very convincing and are good at tricking people into answering questions that can give the bad guys personal information” (Stephens, 2022).
Click here to read more about how to avoid falling for this scam.
General guidelines to follow when receiving a text message from an unknown number:
What to Do About Scam Text Messages
The bottom line: Don’t click any suspicious links
If you get a text message that you weren’t expecting and it asks you to give some personal information, don’t click on any links. The links in these scam messages often contain malicious code that give cyber hackers control over your phone and personal information. Remember that legitimate companies won’t ask for information about your account over text.
If you think the message might be real, verify it by calling the relevant organization directly – Search for them online. Do not use the contact details provided in the message sent to you.
How to Report Spam Text Messages
If you get an unwanted text message, there are three ways to report it:
Report it on the messaging app you use. Look for the option to report junk or spam.
Copy the message and forward it to 7726 (SPAM).
Report it to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/complaint.