Beware of Phishing attempts via text
You're probably familiar with phishing emails, where a scammer claims to be from your bank or a government agency and tries to trick you into giving them personal information. Well, the same type of fraudulent activity is also happening via text message.
You might see a text on your phone asking you to click a link and visit a website to "unlock" or "verify" your account. Don't do it! The scammers could be after your password, account number, or Social Security number. Other strategies scammers use to "rope you in" include a promise of free prizes, gift cards, or coupons; an offer of a no-interest or low-interest credit card; or a promise to help you pay off your student loans.
Scammers may also send text messages that say something like this:
- They've noticed some suspicious activity on your account.
- There's a problem with your payment information.
- Here's an invoice and contact us if you didn't authorize the purchase.
If you get a text message that you weren't expecting and it asks you to give personal information, don't click on any links. Legitimate companies won't ask for information about your account by text. Here are a few other things you can do:
- Slow down: Often times acting too quickly when you receive these messages can result in an error. The scammers want you to feel confused and rushed. So remember to slow down and not fall into the trap of providing an immediate response.
- Delete the text: Don't risk accidentally replying to or saving that content on your phone. If you're going to report the text, take a screen shot for posterity. But then delete it.
- Report it: You can report any suspected phishing directly to your carrier or to the FTC through their complaint assistant.
In addition to staying vigilant about text phishing, there are ways you can filter unwanted text messages or stop them before they reach you. For example, your phone may have an option to filter and block messages from unknown senders or spam. There are also call-blocking apps that let you block unwanted text messages. To learn more, visit the website for CTIA, the wireless industry association.