Scammers’ tactics get trickier with text messages

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Scam Text Message

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — After years of dealing with robocalls, most people know by now not to answer for unknown numbers. But scammers are constantly looking for new ways to trick you.

The Federal Trade Commission is investigating an uptick in spam text messages attempting to access cell phone user’s personal information with fraudulent links and malware. 

“Really, anytime you get a text that’s not from someone you know or you recognize, you should be suspicious of it,” said William Maxon with the Federal Trade Commission.  

One popular tactic scammers have been using recently are texts that claim you have a delivery and tell you to click on a link. Maxon warns cell phone users against clicking on these links, saying they can install malware on your phone to record your every key stroke.  

“There’s all sorts of bad things that people can do when you click on a link. Part of it could be if you click on a link it might install software onto your phone,” Maxon said. “It can know if you type out your credit card number, it can track where you’ve gone and report that information back.”    

Links and confirmation codes in spam texts can take you to websites that look identical to a company’s real one. That’s why experts say you should always be skeptical of texts from unknown numbers and reach out to the company directly before clicking on anything.  

“The best thing to do is to find that company’s phone number or contact information online through their real website,” Maxon said.  

Right now, cybersecurity experts want you to be especially weary of any COVID-19 related texts claiming to be contact tracers or offering financial relief.   

For information on how report scam text messages and how to block them, click here.  

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