Have you been SMISHED lately? Texting scams are on the rise

Investigators

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Chances are, you’ve recently been SMISHED. 

Smishing is the combination of SMS Texting and Phishing used by scammers to defraud you and it has exploded recently. 

With all the robocalls out there, many folks are more inclined to not answer their phone or even respond to an email, but they will respond to a text message. 

“I don’t check my emails as often as I check my texts,” said Raleigh resident Zoe Harnell. 

The bad guys know that texts are more likely to be read and responded to by the recipient.  

Proofpoint Security found Smishing text attacks increased 700 percent since the start of 2021, in large part due to the rise in parcel deliveries that send alerts via text.  

However, fake texts span the message spectrum. 

“I get suspicious texts all the time,” said Jason Bingham. “I get fake texts like there’s a free bonus if you click on this on this link.” 

Other ways criminals trick you includes fraudulent messages like: 

  • A text will emphasize an “urgent” reply to give you no time to think about it. 
  • Scammers will capitalize on a personal relationship saying a friend wants you to check out the attached link. 
  • Many times scammers will offer you a prize. 

“I get them every few days,” said student Allie Temple. “I delete them.” 

Sometimes the fake texts are more insidious. 

A CBS 17 viewer got a text message supposedly from T-Mobile telling the phone’s owner they’ve been enrolled in a $12.99 a month program for music and storage.  

The message asked the recipient to text “cancel” to opt-out. 

When the viewer did that, she got a reply asking for her voicemail code. 

That is one clue it’s a scam.

“Typically, if you get a text message from a certain account or company that’s legitimate, it’s not going to be a back-and-forth exchange in the text message,” said Alyssa Parker of the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina. 

Another clue to the T-Mobile message being a fake is the originating phone number at the top. It starts with a +1, which means it’s from out of the country.   

So, how do you deal with it? 

“Contact customer service to see if there are any issues that can be resolved that way,” said Parker. 

In this case, T-Mobile customer service confirmed the text message was a scam and told the viewer to delete it. 

Texting can also be the way to deal with scam texts. 

If you get a fraudulent text, copy it and text it to 7726 (that Spells SPAM) and it goes directly to your wireless carrier’s fraud division which will take it from there.  

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