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Text Message Scams on the Rise: How to Protect Yourself

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According to reports in the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel database, text message scams resulted in $330 million in consumer losses in 2022. The latest Consumer Protection Data Spotlight focuses on the most common text message scams. The increase in text scams can be attributed to high open rates (up to 98%) compared to emails (20%) and their low cost to send. This proliferation of scams should also concern businesses, since many messages target employees with a professional tone, such as fake deliveries or job offers. Furthermore, scammers often impersonate well-known companies, with over half of text fraud reports categorized as business imposters.

The Data Spotlight highlights the following five common text message scams:

1. Copycat bank fraud prevention alerts: Scammers send texts impersonating banks, asking recipients to call a number or reply to verify suspicious activity or authorize transactions. If individuals respond, scammers posing as a “fraud department” attempt to make unauthorized transfers and may request personal information, leading to potential identity theft.

2. Bogus “gifts”: Scammers send texts claiming to be from reputable companies, offering free gifts or rewards. Clicking on the link and providing credit card information for a small shipping fee results in fraudulent charges.

3. Fake package delivery problems: Scammers send texts pretending to be from postal services or delivery companies like USPS, FedEx, or UPS, claiming there is an issue with a delivery. The text directs recipients to a fake website that requests credit card information to cover a “redelivery fee.”

4. Phony job offers: Scammers target individuals with fake job offers, such as “mystery shopper” positions or money-making opportunities like driving with ads on their cars. They may even send job seekers checks and instruct them to send some money elsewhere, leaving victims responsible when the checks bounce.

5. Not-really-from-Amazon security alerts: Individuals receive texts appearing to be from “Amazon,” notifying them of an unauthorized order. Scammers posing as Amazon representatives offer to fix the account, but then mistakenly request overpayment to be returned in the form of gift card PIN numbers.

To combat scam text messages, individuals can report them by forwarding the text to 7726 (SPAM) to help their wireless provider block similar messages. Reports can also be made through the Apple iMessages or Google’s Messages app. Additionally, reporting scams to the FTC at is encouraged.

Advice for employees includes avoiding clicking on links or responding to unexpected texts. If unsure about the legitimacy of a text, individuals should contact the company directly using a known phone number or website. Filtering unwanted texts can be done by following the FTC’s guidance on blocking unwanted texts.

Posted In: Technology, Training

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