It happens all too often—an unknown number pops up in your text messages, asking for personal information or offering a free gift that is too good to be true. The sender might even seem like an innocuous wrong number asking about the weather. Unfortunately, these are signs of a scam.
How Scam Texts Work
According to CBS News, one of the most insidious ways that scammers use text messages is through copycat bank fraud. Typically, this will start with a seemingly innocent text asking about a potentially fraudulent charge. The text will ask the recipient to answer “yes” or “no” to confirm or deny the charge. By responding, the recipient has unknowingly confirmed that their number is activated and that they are a real person—the perfect target for the scammer.
Other forms of scam texts include phony delivery scams, bogus gift scams, and fake offers for free or discounted services. In each case, an unsuspecting victim can easily end up giving away personal information, such as passwords, bank account numbers, or Social Security numbers.
Stay Safe with These Tips
Our top three tips for staying safe from scam texts include:
- Never answer a text from an unknown number — If you don’t recognize the sender or aren’t expecting a text from someone whose number you don’t have saved, do not respond to the message in any way. Just delete the text and go about your day.
- Verify all bank charges before responding — If you receive a text asking about a bank charge, do not respond with yes or no. Instead, contact your bank directly to confirm if the charge is legitimate.
- Never give out personal information over text — When scammers ask for any kind of financial or personal information, such as passwords or Social Security numbers, do not provide it. Legitimate businesses and institutions will never ask for this kind of information over text message.