Consumer Alert: Mobile carriers are shutting down their 3G networks. If you have an older cell phone, you may not be able to call or text. The FCC has advice about what to do.
Scammers send fake text messages to trick you into giving them your personal information – things like your password, account number, or Social Security number. If they get that information, they could gain access to your email, bank, or other accounts. Or they could sell your information to other scammers.
The scammers use a variety of ever-changing stories to try to rope you in. They may
- promise free prizes, gift cards or coupons
- offer you a low or no interest credit card
- promise to help you pay off your student loans
Scammers also send fake messages that say they have some information about your account or a transaction. The scammers may
- say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity on your account
- claim there’s a problem with your payment information
- send you a fake invoice and tell you to contact them if you didn’t authorize the purchase
- send you a fake package delivery notification
The messages might ask you to give some personal information — like how much money you make, how much you owe, or your bank account, credit card, or Social Security number — to claim your gift or pursue the offer. Or they may tell you to click on a link to learn more about the issue. Some links may take you to a spoofed website that looks real but isn’t. If you log in, the scammers can then steal your user name and password.
Other messages may install harmful malware on your phone that steals your personal information without you realizing it.
If you get a text message that you weren’t expecting and it asks you to give some personal information, don’t click on any links. Legitimate companies won’t ask for information about your account by text.
If you think the message might be real, contact the company using a phone number or website you know is real. Not the information in the text message.
There are many ways you can filter unwanted text messages or stop them before they reach you.
On your phone
Through your wireless provider
Your wireless provider may have a tool or service that lets you block calls and text messages. Check ctia.org, a website for the wireless industry, to learn about the options from different providers.
With a call-blocking app
You can also search for apps online. Check out the features, user ratings, and expert reviews.
If you get an unwanted text message, there are three ways to report it: