New technologies made our lives easier, but unfortunately, they had side effects too. Fast and efficient communication gave scammers an opportunity to reach any person directly at any moment of our day. SMS text scam is as dangerous as email one, and it chases the same purpose — to steal your personal info and get you to send money to the scammers.
To report SMS scam, you need first to detect it. Testelium is all for ecological marketing, so we prepared this article to guide you through the different types of harmful messages. And remember: reporting text message scams is an essential step to keep the telecom environment clearer.
By the way, if you are worried that your messages might be sent from scam-like addresses, check our text message sender identification to monitor the delivery.
What are scam text messages and smashing?
These days, mobile phone text scams grow significantly. People are relying more on the notifications that come to their smartphones, and they are careless enough to not check if everything is okay with the message they open. This is why SMS fraud texts are so dangerous: they successfully masquerade as something we are used to seeing. That’s why SMS scam or smishing is a really popular method of manipulation.
Scam messages aren’t something new in the book: there is a great track of phishing campaigns you might have received through email. Smishing is the same old phishing but presented through SMS messaging.
This type of SMS scam usually looks like a mundane message from some company like FedEx, some institutions like hospitals, etc., and requires you to share some personal data like credit card numbers, PINs, or other sensitive information.
Obviously, these cell phone texting scams come from fraudsters who want to trick you and take advantage of your bank accounts.
Here’s how it works: scammers send you mobile spam with enticing content, thereby literally forcing you to click on the malicious link they contain. It can be SMS with any content, such as text messages saying you won something or a warning from a company whose services you’ve been using. If the message you receive seems truthful, and you click on the link they contain, you risk sharing your personal information with the scammers or giving them your money.
How can SMS scams steal your data?
Usually, such a text message comes disguised as an average marketing campaign or inquiry from a bank or similar institutions. The call-to-action may differ: some may contain a link redirecting to a phishing website or directly asking to share your personal data.
The goal of any text scammer is to trick you into giving them the aforementioned info, and if you are cautious and educated enough, you will be able to avoid this from happening by refusing to reply anything and reporting phishing texts.
Since scam text message aims to get your personal or payment data, it usually contains a link that leads to a special form. In this form, you have to specify your data for payment or provide additional information. Thus, you give the text scammers your name, phone number, email, or even all of your credit card details.
In most cases, scammers create forms that are very similar to the original forms of well-known companies that people trust, such as PayPal. The difference is in minor details, for example, one wrong letter in the URL of the page to which the text message redirected you. This difference is invisible to most users — that’s why text phishing is so dangerous. If you find out that a text message is being sent by scammers, you should report scam texts ASAP and stop text message scams.
How to report spam text messages
To get scammer busted, you may report text scams to help reduce fraudulent activities and mark certain phone numbers as fraud ones. By reporting text message scams, you prevent them from spreading further. This means that scammers won’t be able to fool other, more gullible people.
There are different ways how to report a scam text, but here simple instructions that will guide you through this process.
Here’s how to report a scam text:
- For Android phones, in the messaging app, tap on the suspicious conversation and hold it until the “block” button appears. Click on “report spam” and then confirm your action by pressing “OK”.
- On iPhones, you can report scam texts you receive in iMessage. Tap “Report Junk”, then “Delete and Report Junk”.
- If you received a phishing message via messenger Viber, WhatsApp, or others, you can block text message scams using internal tools. Usually, these messages are immediately labeled as “spam” by the messenger, so you can report phishing texts in one click.
Action Fraud is a website where to report spam texts. Fill out the form on the website and provide all the details that are available to you. You can also call this center on 0300 123 2040.
5. And another easy way how to report a scam text is just forward the suspicious message to 7726. This information will be sent to the police and the relevant services, which will take measures to eliminate the further spread of the scam.
However, to report a scam text message, you firstly need to detect it. Here are the most common types of mobile spam you might receive.
Prizes and free offers
The messages text messages saying you won something are most likely untrue. It’s a classical trick in the scammer’s sleeve — the idea of a present looks very enticing, but the chance that there is a real free offer is close to null.
You can receive a message with a link asking you to click on it and leave your personal info, like credit card credentials. It also can ask you to transfer a relatively small sum of money to get a bigger one. SMS lottery scam is possible too, so try to stop yourself before making an impulsive decision or clicking on the suspicious links from unknown senders.
Scammers may send you a text claiming that your family or relatives are in trouble — for example, they got arrested, and you need to bail them immediately. Such SMS scam is targeted to impact our biggest fears. They confuse us and block our logic, so we are in a hurry to get our folks out of the danger.
You might be asked to send money immediately, but don’t buy it. The first thing you should do it’s to contact your relative and check on their situation — most probably they will be chilling at home, knowing nothing about their so-called emergency with police or hospital. You may also be persuaded that the person is kidnapped, and you need to provide a ransom. If you suspect that there is really something wrong, contact the authorities instead of following scammers’ demands. And of course, if you see something like this, please report scam text message.
This category includes standard bank SMS scams and fake messages from different government agencies. You may be asked to share your passwords for online payment accounts (yes, PayPal SMS scam is also a thing), or to confirm your personal info. It’s phishing, fraudulent activity to obtain sensitive information.
Pay close attention to the sender ID, as scammers can disguise themselves, changing one or two letters in the name of your bank. And by the way, banks should never ask for your passwords and government agencies usually contact citizens through official mail.
This type of fraud text messages claims that you receive a refund for monthly subscriptions to popular services, like Netflix, Spotify, or Amazon. Scammers will ask for your account number, and as they secure the bank routing, your money will disappear.
If you believe that this info might be true, better double-check it with official brand channels like websites or social media accounts.
Notifications on the package delivered
We rely heavily on SMS notifications from delivery providers. The message, again, might look legit, disguised with clever copy and relevant world choice. Usually, it will also contain a link to a landing where you will learn that you immediately need to make a payment to secure the package.
As you can guess, the money will go to fraudsters, and there is actually no package in question.
Cryptocurrencies have become a hot topic and easily attract a lot of attention. Hence, scammers widely use this topic for their spam campaigns.
These messages would probably have a free offer for Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency and a link where you should “claim them”. As a result, you will be redirected to another phishing website.
These texts exploit the possibility of you owning any account on any website, platform, or even with the banks. You receive a message that your account is temporarily blocked and was under attack. To unblock it and return access, you need to follow the link and enter your sensitive data like log in or password.
When you receive such text, the first thing you need to do is to check the account in question. Most probably, it will be in its usual, normal state, which will only prove that the message has been a scam. Your next step is reporting scam text messages.
Tax relief notification
Tax relief is another easy topic, as a lot of people would like to gain some money in a few clicks. Moreover, fraudsters are able to make any page look official and similar to the websites of IRS or HMRC. But eventually, the victims of such profound fraud will expose their personal data and be left without any refund.
The pandemics pushed scammers for new creative campaigns. Now, they are sending texts saying that a person is eligible for a vaccine and that it is possible to schedule an appointment by filling out a form with personal data. Reporting scam text messages will be the best decision here.
Sometimes, fraudsters might have access to some data that is related to a phone number, e.g. your name. They might send some random message saying “Hi, Mary, here is an article we talked about”, meanwhile the link will be leading to a harmful or phishing website.
Being totally confused, you might become a victim of this scam and expose important information. If you recognize a scam, don’t leave it unreacted. Reporting text scams helps keep others out of danger.
What to do to avoid SMS fraud?
The first thing you should remember is that such data as your online banking password or CVV code of your card should not be disclosed even to bank employees. So if you see a message demanding to share this data immediately, it’s a 100% phishing scam.
If you received a scam message, don’t worry: they can’t access your info or bank account unless you are not careful and share it willingly with them. Here are also some tips on how to handle fraud SMS:
— don’t send any messages in reply to the scammers, otherwise, they will know that your number is active, and they can keep spamming you;
— don’t click on any links even just to check it — it can allow scammers to access your phone;
— block the numbers you received scam messages and report them to your carrier;
— never share any sensitive info through the SMS and check with companies and brands if you suspect something;
— in most cases, scammers do not have your personal information before sending out scam messages, so they address you impersonally Sir/Madam. If you see such treatment in a message from your bank – do not open any links and urgently report text scams.
What to do if you become a victim of a text scam?
Sometimes, we all can be a little tired, oblivious, or unmindful and fall for the scam schemes. To reduce losses you may suffer, we suggest acting quick:
— block your credit cards that might be exposed and try to get a refund from your bank;
— don’t engage with fraudsters and block their number on your mobile phone;
— change the password on important accounts (bank application, social networks, etc.) and enable two-factor authentication.
Reporting text scams to the operator will be another wise decision, as it will help carriers fight scammers and decrease the amount of spam flowing through their network. You already know how to report scam text, so go for it!
SMS scam might look obvious, but it can get to you in the most unexpected moment when your shields are down. Always stay alert, learn where to report spam texts, and you will be alright, while we would take care of checking your own SMS marketing campaigns with bulk SMS tests.