Practical Prevention Tips
As more scammers move from email and Internet-based methods to text, the number of identity theft victims is rising. Using some common sense measures and a few tips, you can avoid joining the ranks of those who have compromised their own personal information in response to a text scam. If a text is too good too be true — or too scary to consider — it may be a sign of fraud.
Types of Texting Scams
Fraudsters are always coming up with new scams. The majority of text scams fall into one of a few categories. First, there is the financial institution scam. Identity thieves send SMS, or text, messages to users claiming to alert individuals of a problem with bank, credit, or insurance accounts. The text message may include a call back number. If you call the number, you’ll be asked for account or other information the fraudsters can use to steal money or your identity.
Another popular scam tells a user they’ve won something — usually a laptop, tablet, cash, or gift card. Users are asked to text back or call with information to claim the reward. Information gathered when the user attempts to claim the reward is used to pull off a future theft.
Protect Yourself, Reduce Future Identity Theft Victims
Never respond to text messages about winnings with personal information. If you haven’t entered a relevant sweepstakes or contest, it’s best not to respond at all. Don’t use call back numbers included in texts about financial accounts. Call your bank or credit union using the official customer service line to determine whether the issue is real.
Using common sense will go a long way in protecting yourself against identity theft, but you might consider credit monitoring or other measures as added protection. Reduce the chance of becoming one of the millions of identity theft victims (and help others) by reporting the text to your cell phone provider. According to the Better Business Bureau, you can forward SPAM texts to 7726 for review by your carrier.
What was the most unusual texting scam you’ve received?