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How to Spot and Report Dangerous Scam Text Messages


Have you ever received a text message about an item you never ordered or someone telling you that you owe them money? If so, the chances are this could be a scam text message from people who are looking to take money from you.

While scammers also target people on email and via the telephone, scam text messages have recently become increasingly popular. To keep yourself safe from scammers, it’s important to know how to spot a scam text message and what to do if you think you’ve received one. Read on to find out how.

How to Spot a Scam Text Message

Scam text messages may look incredibly convincing, but Which? says there are often things you can look out for that give scammers away.

If the message is from an unknown number: A lot of organizations protect their ‘Sender ID’ so they won’t come through from a generic mobile number. However, some scammers can hijack a company’s Sender ID on smartphones. If you’re in doubt, reach out to the organization by contacting them via a number from their website.

Putting pressure on you for payment details: Scammers often try to tell you that you have a limited time to pay them or that you must pay immediately, otherwise you may face a ‘fine’. This is just a scare-tactic to try and make you act fast. Remember, a genuine company would rarely ask you to make changes to your account or ask for payment over text message without asking you to log into your account first.

Fake website address: If you are sent a website address check that it matches that of the organization. Again, this could look very similar to the real thing, so always look up an organization’s details independently to double check.

Spelling mistakes and odd wording: This is one of the biggest giveaways of a scam text message. Government departments, banks and, couriers will rarely often make spelling mistakes or grammatical errors, so if you spot one it’s a strong indication that it’s a scam.

How to report a scam text message

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends forwarding any suspicious text messages to the number 7726 (SPAM). This is number is completely free-of-charge and it will alert your network provider who will investigate the origin of the text and take action, if it’s found to be malicious.

What to Do if You’ve Already Responded to a Scam Text Message

If you fall victim to a scam text message, follow these suggestions below…

  • If a scammer has tricked you into providing your banking details, contact your bank immediately and let them know.
  • If you think you’ve accidentally given out your password to a scammer, quickly change the passwords on any of your accounts which use the same password.
  • If you notice that you’ve lost money, report it to National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) and tell your bank.
  • If you fear your email or social media account has already been hacked, the FTC has a guide on how to recover a hacked account.

This article originally appeared on our sister site, First For Women.

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