Have you ever received a text message from a bank stating there is fraud on your debit card or about your mail, from USPS or UPS? Well, there’s a good chance that text message could be a scam. These are a few examples of the most popular text message scams that happen to people every day, and we’ve continued to see them rise in recent months.
These attempts have become more sophisticated with more persuasive messaging and technology that makes their text appear to come from a bank, USPS or UPS. Here’s how text message scams work, how to protect yourself and what to do if you think you’ve been targeted.
What are text message scams?
Text message scams often ask you to confirm your address or click on a link to provide the sender more information. Once the text or call is intercepted by the scammers, they will begin asking you for full card numbers, PINs, and even personal information in order to “close” the card. Once your card information has been given to the scammer, they are then able to withdrawal cash from an ATM or make online purchases. If personal information such as a Social Security Number is given out, the scammer can then call the bank with those details and attempt to gather additional bank information.
How to protect yourself from text message scams
There are some ways you can protect yourself from text message scams. Never click on a link provided in a text message from someone you don’t know or respond to messages you weren’t expecting. With the increase in texts appearing to come from the USPS, UPS and banks trying to confirm transactions, it’s now best practice to call your bank on a known phone number or stop into a branch and talk to a banker about the message to find out if it’s legitimate.
What to do if you’re a victim of a text message scam
If you have received a text message scam and have already clicked a link, given out your information, made a payment, or you believe your identity may be compromised in another way, here are a few immediate steps to take.
- Forward the text to 7726 – this sends the message to your wireless provider and allows them to block future messages like these.
- Report through Apple using the “Report Junk” link at the bottom of messages from unknown senders.
- Report through Google Messages on Android devices by touching and holding the conversation you want to report, then tap block, Report spam, and OK.
- Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to file a complaint at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
- Notify your bank so proper steps can be taken to prevent any further compromise.
The sooner you take steps to block scammers from committing further crimes against you, the less damage they can do.