At Genie we want to make sure you are aware of the newest scam trends before they target you - Today is no different, as we have come across a new trend of scam texts that appear to be from your own number!
What is the scam?
By now you've probably heard of scam calls and text messages that are spoofed from your own local area code in order to come across as more legitimate. But recently, many people are reporting receiving scam SMS texts that appear to be spoofed from their own phone number.
These messages congratulate you on your bill being paid for the month and have links attached to receive “a little gift ” (see image below for reference). After clicking the link, which we do not recommend you do yourself, many are redirected to Russian based websites.
It turns out that many Verizon customers are being targeted by this specific scam. Currently Verizon has issued a statement that they are aware of the situation and are openly working with law enforcement to identify its source and put an end to it.
Real life example of the scam text message.
How do these scammers get your number?
Did you recently sign up for something on a website with your phone number? This might be the reason for your number to be compromised. Unfortunately, some websites pass on your private information to data brokers.
These brokers specialize in collecting personal data from public records, but sometimes are sourced privately and sell the data which eventually get into the hands of the scammers.
Because of this, it is always important to proactively protect your personal information and only provide it to trusted companies who state that they will never sell your data.
For more information about how scammers and spammers get our phone numbers see our full blogpost here: “Why do I keep getting spam calls?”
So what can we do?
Scam and spam texts are definitely nothing new, but what makes these worrisome is due to the fact that it is coming from your own number; it makes it much harder to identify its source, report, and block it.
The best thing to do when receiving a text like this is to not click on any links attached and report the message to the Federal Trade Commission at 7726. The FCC adds that you should “never share your personal or financial information via email, text messages, or over the phone.” You can also report it to your local Police Department.
Also make sure to spread the word to your colleagues, family members and friends so that they will be aware of what to do if it happens to them.
If you did click on the link:
According to CNBC, If you do click on a malicious link, your best bet is to avoid entering any information, and disconnect your device from the internet as soon as possible. Then, go into your device’s settings, check for any apps you don’t remember downloading and delete them.
You can also use an antivirus app to scan your device for malware, and change the passwords of any accounts you think may have been compromised.
If you think any of your personal or financial information might have been compromised, you can also freeze your credit for free, to avoid potential identity theft.
Please share this information to keep others protected from these scams!