How to Avoid and Report Texting Scams
If you’re like most people, you opt in to receive texts from businesses more and more frequently, especially around the holidays as you eagerly await your delivery updates. However, this fast and convenient communication method is also an easy vehicle for scammers who are trying to get your personal information.
FTC Recommendations to Avoid Texting Scams
The FTC warns you to never give out your password, Social Security number or account numbers in a text message. Beware of the following possible tricks:
- Promises for free prizes, gift cards or coupons
- Offers for a low or no interest credit card
- Promises to help you pay off your student loans
According to the FTC, also watch out for messages claiming to have some information on your account such as:
- Notification of suspicious activity on your account
- Warning about a problem with your payment information
- Receipt of a fake invoice that requires you to contact them if you didn’t authorize the purchase
- Receipt of fake package delivery notification
Think Before You Click
Do not click on links to learn more about the information in the text message. You might be taken to a website that appears real but in actuality is a scam to steal your password and other personal information. Legitimate companies will not text you requests for confidential information. In the event you suspect it might be a genuine request, call the company or go on their website instead of replying to the text message.
How to Block Texts and Phone Numbers from Scammers
The FTC and CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association that represents America’s wireless communication industry) provide the following suggestions for blocking unwanted text messages or calls:
- If you receive texts you don’t want, respond “STOP.”
- Check out ctia.org to find out whether your wireless provider may have a tool or service that lets you block calls and text messages. Click here for IOS devices, and click here for Android devices.
- The CTIA also has a list of call-blocking apps. Click here for a list of recommendations for IOS devices, and click here for a list of recommendations for Android devices.
How to Report Spam Text Messages
The FTC provides three recommendations to help report spam text messages:
- Report it on the messaging app you use. Look for the option to report junk or spam.
- Copy the message and forward it to 7726 (SPAM).
- Report it to the Federal Trade Commission by clicking here.
For more information, visit the FTC website by clicking here.
An additional resource is the CTIA website found by clicking here.