There have been some alarming reports about text scams over the last few years. In fact, surveys indicate that nearly 56 billion scam text messages were sent in September of 2022 alone. This is more scam text than there are people in the United States.
Because of the volume of these messages, it’s important to identify them and prevent them from becoming a problem.
The good news is that we’re here to help. We’ll take you through the most common text message scams and how you can identify them.
The 10 Most Common Text Message Scams
People have started to get creative with text message scams, so to stay aware, you need to keep up. Read about the most common scams below. Our list is compiled with data from the Federal Trade Commission.
1. Bank Fraud Prevention Alerts
One of the most common scams is bank fraud prevention. Someone will pose as your bank and attempt to get your login information or other personal details. If you engage with this message, you’ll get a call from a fake “bank manager” to help you with your transaction.
2. Bonus Free Gift
If you’re getting a text message from a phone company or another company about a free gift, proceed with caution. When you click the link, it will ask for your credit card information so you can pay for shipping. If you do this, they have your credit card information.
3. Fake Package Delivery Problems
This one became very popular over the last few years and picks up around the holidays. The message looks like it comes from UPS or another shipping service, and if you follow the link, it takes you to a fake website that makes you pay for a re-delivery. If you give your information, they get your credit card number.
4. Fake Job Offers
Another popular scam is a fake job offer scam. In this scam, the company will claim that you get paid to complete tasks or some other type of work. If you do the task and cash the check, it will bounce. They may also make you send money and claim that they overpaid you, which results in you losing money.
5. Fake Amazon Security Alerts
Think twice the next time you get an Amazon security alert. The person posing as the company will ask you to verify a big ticket purchase, which is designed to make you frantic. If you follow through, you’ll end up with a customer service rep who claims to have accidentally sent you too much money. Unfortunately, when you send the money back, you’ll realize that they sent you a bad check to begin with.
6. Wrong Number Scam
The wrong number scam comes in a few ways. Usually, it starts with a person who claims to have texted the wrong number. From there, they’ll engage with you, ask you where you’re from, and offer to continue talking on an app like WhatsApp. From there, they will try to get money from you.
7. Fake Tax Refunds
Some scammers will claim to be from the IRS and state that you have a refund waiting for you. If you follow the link to claim the refund or speak with an “agent,” they will accidentally send you too much money, but it’s a fake check. If you send any money to the scammers, you just end up losing money. The IRS will never text you like that.
8. Emergency Texts
These texts vary, and some may be simple phishing links or texts that claim something has happened to your family members and that they need you to send them money immediately. Never send money to these people or click any links. One of the best ways to spot one of these texts is to observe the phone number to see if it’s longer than usual.
9. Phishing Links
Phishing links can happen in almost any context. If you get a message with a link, avoid clicking it because opening the link can grant the sender access to your passwords. These links usually look strange and take you to strange websites with a lot of ads and sketchiness in general.
10. Fake Prizes
The fake prize scam is similar to the fake gift scam. It will come as a prize claiming that you won a sweepstakes and just need to enter some information to claim your prize. If you do, you’ll end up giving a scammer your card information.
How to Identify Text Message Scams
The best way to identify text message scams is to use a phone number lookup tool. These tools will help you identify the owner of a number and provide you with other information to help you determine if the number is malicious. While there are several tools to choose from, our top choice is always Information.com.
Information.com’s reverse phone lookup tool makes it easy to enter a phone number and view a full report about who owns it so you can verify the sender’s identity. Plus, all you have to do is enter the phone number into the search bar here to get started.
Stop Spam Texts in Their Tracks
You can stop spam text dead in its tracks when you use a reverse phone lookup tool. Gone are the days when you have to deal with spammers and automated text messages without knowing exactly who you’re talking to.