The digital age that has brought us countless benefits. An endless amount of information is available at one’s fingertips. Online shopping has faster shipping. Finding a good or service is quick and painless. While all of these perks bring a great benefit to our lives in terms of convenience, technology has also opened us up to a gastly number of scams.
Spam is nothing new. People have been sending spam emails and making unwanted phone calls for a long time. There is a reason that telemarketers are so disliked in the United States. Receiving spam messages or calls of any kind is downright annoying.
The issue with spam text messages is that they can’t be ignored as easily as an email or phone call. As you’re reading this you likely have an email inbox full of unanswered or unopened emails that will likely just get deleted or continue to be ignored. If you get a phone call from an unknown number, you can silence your phone until it stops ringing (if it’s someone you know they’ll likely leave a voicemail).
It’s unlikely that you have hundreds of unopened text messages, however. This is what makes potential scammers utilize text messages more and more. In this article, we’ll go over how to identify a fake text message as well as some spam text message examples.
How to Tell if a Text Message is a Scam
Phishing scams have become more sophisticated over time, making them more difficult to recognize. As a result, the ability to recognize a fraudulent SMS message is a continuous effort.
Be on the watch for the following forms of spam texts:
Is the sender well-known (like Amazon or Apple, which are the most frequently mimicked brands in all phishing scams) yet the writing is sloppy, full of typos, or does it sound like it’s written in poor English? Then it’s likely a scam and should be avoiding at all costs.
It creates a sense of urgency.
It sounds like something’s amiss with your account or payment method, therefore the sender wants you to fix it right away. Creating a sense of urgency is a certain technique to get you to feel anxious and as if you HAVE to do something right away. This technique is common among spammers because people don’t make the best decisions when they’re anxious.
It isn’t personal
While scammers may have some information about you, they likely don’t have all of it. This means that their messages likely won’t have the same sort of personal touch that you would expect from a company that you regularly do business with.
It’s too good to be true
As the old saying goes, “If it’s too good to be true then it probably is.” Unfortunately this is just a reality of the world we live in. Scammers generally won’t present you with a run of the mill “offer”. They want to excite you and get you to engage with them or visit whatever link they send. Avoid entertaining anything that sounds like it’s too good of an offer.
Let’s check out some specific examples of spam text messages
Congratulations! You’ve Won!
A surprise award sounds like a wonderful opportunity. In contrast, receiving a text message notifying you of winning an unrelated contest is a sure sign that you’ve been phished. When in doubt about an offer’s authenticity, contact the company directly.
The IRS is Attempting to Reach Out to You.
You will not be contacted by email, phone, or text message by government organizations such as the IRS. Mail or certified letter is the most common method of communication for any legal government entity. The IRS is not going to text you about anything related to your standing with them, but plenty of people do fall for this text message scam.
You’re owed a refund!
Ahhh, who doesn’t love finding out they’re getting a refund for something? I know I do. Unfortunately, this is a common tactic used by scammers all over the place. It will often follow up with questions about your bank account so that they can send your refund to the right place. Don’t fall for it.
Validate Your Banking Account
Scams posing as well-known financial companies like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Chase have in the past allowed fraudsters to obtain large amounts of customer banking information.
Legitimate businesses will never ask you for your personal or financial information by text message, even if they claim to be trustworthy. Consequently, it is quite unlikely that your bank will send you a random verification text message.
There Is a Package Delivery
Amazon and FedEx deliveries have become so frequent that a text notification about a product or purchase would be easy to miss, especially when they are so common. While valid shipping updates are sent by shippers, they will never seek personal information or money to finish a shipment.
Apple iCloud Account Verification
Messages that ask you to authenticate your Apple ID or other technological account are questionable. If you have any reason to believe that your account has been compromised, you should immediately notify the firm and change your passwords. The same goes with your Google account.
As with any other freebie, you should exercise extreme caution when accepting an offer of “free” bitcoin. No one is giving away free crypto, and especially not via text message.
It’s the Police
This is a relatively new scam. Apparently thieves are pretending to be police officers and texting/ calling individuals asking them for donations to the department. Don’t fall for this one.
The police are not going to text you. Period. Unless you’re living in Mayberry, any text you receive that says it’s from the police is almost most guaranteed to be a scam. To top it off, the cops aren’t going to ask you for any sort of donations or banking info over the phone.
While text messaging services like CloudContactAI, offer an easy way for legitimate businesses to contact existing and potential customers, it’s important that recipients are always cautious of text messages they receive. We do our best to produce content that educates users on how to avoid being scammed, but at the end of the day it is your responsibility to avoid these issues.
The most important take away from this article is to always be cautious of text messages that appear to be too good to be true. Trust your gut, and if in doubt contact the company the text message in question claims to be from.
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