We would all like to believe we know a scam when we see one and think, “that would never happen to me…” However, text scams can happen to any phone number through any provider at any time. With more and more text scams coming across your phone, it's important that you know how to recognize them, so you don't fall victim. Though less common than other digital ploys, texting scams can be effective due to the personal nature of our phones. Texts are usually reserved for friends, family, and businesses with who we have consented to connect, so how do you protect yourself?
Recognize the Signs
First, check the number from the sender. Most marketing texts come from a 6-digit shortcode or a 10-digit toll-free number. If you can’t identify the number or it is too long (11-digits), chances are, it’s a scam.
Scam texts can also say they have information about your accounts or transactions, such as:
- Suspicious activity on your account
- Problem with payment information
- Fake invoices with instructions to contact the scammer
- Fake package delivery notifications
- Free prizes, gift cards, or coupons
These messages can ask for personal information or ask you to click on a link. Some links might take you to a website that looks real but allows the spammer to steal your username and password. Other messages can install malware on your phone that can steal personal information.
If you do get a scam text, don’t click on any links. Legitimate companies will never ask for your account information by text. If you do think it might be real, contact the company using a phone number that you know is real—not the information in the text.