If you get tons of scam text messages, you’re not alone. Lots of people have been reporting to the FTC that they’re getting texts from scammers impersonating people and organizations you know and trust — like your bank or companies like Amazon. An analysis of consumer reports reveals the top text scams from 2022. So, what are they? And how do you avoid them?
The latest FTC Data Spotlight explores how text scams try to get you to act NOW. Whether it’s the thrill of getting a free item or the panic about a large unauthorized charge, scammers know that these texts are hard to ignore. The most-reported text scam looks like a fraud alert from your bank, but it’s fake. It might say there’s suspicious activity on your account and tell you to call a number. Or to reply “yes or no” to confirm a big purchase (that you didn’t really make). But don’t do it. There is no real problem. They just want your money or personal information.
Another common text scam promises a “free gift”— if you click a link. But then they ask you for payment information to cover the “shipping cost.” If you give it, you’ll get unauthorized charges on your account…and no free gift.
So how do you avoid these and other text scams?
- Don’t click on links or respond to unexpected texts. If you think a text might be legit, contact the company using a phone number or website you know is real. Don’t use the information in the text message.
- Report text scams. Forward them to 7726 (SPAM). This helps your wireless provider spot and block similar messages.
And if you spot a text scam, the FTC wants to hear about it. Tell us what happened at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.
- We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
- We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
- We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
- We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.
I have been getting text messages since 2021.
Really Appreciate this article!
We received a text from malwareforchromebook, tel no, 802,491,3031,price 255.6 that is being renewed, Did nor respond
Yes tows of email text message
That's it? Just report it?
Last time I tried to use ReportFraud.ftc.gov the screen went blank. Tried several times to be sure the address was correct. No luck.
In reply to Last time I tried to use… by J Stout
I also tried ReportFraud.ftc.gov but it was not accepted as a valid address!
I no longer answer calls from numbers not in my contact list, check voice mail for a message, 99% of the time I block the number. I registered my numbers on the DO NOT CALL REGISTRY. I block unsolicited emails and mark spam.
In reply to I no longer answer calls… by Susan
I do the same, but it seems the more I delete, move to junk, or block, the more I get. It’s totally out of control!
In reply to I do the same, but it seems… by Ken
I agree. For eery oe you block 2-3 more pop up.
Anyone from the Walmart you want your TV and all that I have a debit card so they can't take much but yeah I've never got it in the mail they said they shipped it a few times it took my couple dollars and shipping when I check the number it's in Canada
In reply to Anyone from the Walmart you… by Anthony S. Moore
Sorry that happened to you. Yeah, their is a group hitting it hard and one number is in Canada...I really researched this group to find out as much as I could. He really is hurting a LOT LOT of people. It's bad and some of the agents stationed throughout US are really nasty and are treating people inhumane. I reported all I know to FCC FTC but I think if FCC will pull the plug FAST after validation. Crossing fingers!
I was getting so many I had to change my phone #. What a pain. But so far it has helped the last two years. I've gotten a couple and just delete them.
If I report a text scam to the FTC at the address you provided above "ReportFraud.ftc.gov", should I forward the suspected text scam to that address or do you only want a report?
We receive spam email and text regularly. We report them as spam but Verizon and spectrum (email) do not block them. For phone calls the visible phone number is bogus but Verizon knows exactly where they come from and where they are sent otherwise they couldn't send the spam in the first place. However they are more interested in phone service revenue from the spammers than protecting their recipients.
In reply to We receive spam email and… by Marcel Kates &…
It's the same thing on Social media. Most famous people are being used by spammers to lure the honest users in. Angelina Jolie has more than most with 50 or more profiles between inst. & FB. I've tried my best to get both platforms to mandate location/ Country where these profiles were made. No change because they'd lose all the spammers business and they're probably collecting more from them than honest users! It's getting to be more than I can handle
I get 10 to 20 of these in text and email format every day. Forwarding them to another number is problematic and takes a lot of time when you add them up. What I do is block the text number or mark the emails as Junk and either Junk, or Phising (on Android). I would hope the phone company can see commonly blocked phone numbers and block them, and that Microsoft and Google can use the email sources that show up in Junk or are marked as Phishing to remove access to email accounts. I expect these are going out from the phone numbers and email accounts in very large numbers and would be easy for the phone companies and email providers to block.
In reply to I get 10 to 20 of these in… by Jeff
In reply to I get 10 to 20 of these in… by Jeff
I get so many and even though I send them to junk and have my name listed on the do not call list I get more of the same over and over. For a senior citizen it is extremely hard to keep up with. At times there are three or four of the same one in a row. Why are our elected leaders not concerned about this, yet they change our right to pray anywhere, anytime.
great your dealing with TEXT ONLY. WHAT ABOUT THE PHONE CALLS?
I get them starting at 7am now. At least its not 5am anymore. My phone number was
spotted on the dark web according to Experian.
WHY CANT YOU DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS? YOU HAVE HAD OVER 10 yrs to DEAL WITH THIS AND YOU DO NOTHING ABOUT IT WHATSOEVER.
Private companies have figured it out and one can PURCHASE a ROBOKILL but YOU cant seem to do A THING ABOUT IT. Im pretty disappointed and disgusted you dont take roboscam calls SERIOUSLY
In reply to great your dealing with TEXT… by Pokey
Read FTC press releases to learn about the recent FTC action to stop a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) provider, XCast Labs, Inc., that continued to funnel hundreds of millions of illegal robocalls through its network, even after receiving multiple warnings. Learn that in February, the Federal Trade Commission sued to stop an interconnected web of operations responsible for delivering tens of millions of unwanted Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and ringless voicemail (RVM) phony debt service robocalls to consumers nationwide. Read FTC press releases at www.ftc.gov/news-events/news/press-releases. Subscribe to Press Releases at www.ftc.gov/subscribe.
In reply to great your dealing with TEXT… by Pokey
Experian also sent me a notice that my phone number was “spotted on the dark web.” Gee thanks. How does that help me? Someone is keeping tabs on me and using my information but I don’t know who they are. I’m sick of all the hacking.
In reply to great your dealing with TEXT… by Pokey
Hi there, I agree and can relate to your frustration. To be honest, the FTC, FCC is doing ABOVE and beyond what any carrier is doing. Like you, been dealing with this since 2016 with darknet info, data breach on credit report I am still fighting with them and then the robo scammers. ATT has done NOTHING not one thing! I also have ATT sim swap employee stole my info plus ATT has a very stubborn and egotistical CEO who never admits NADDA! I know it seems like the agency isn't doing enough but I'm in this deep and have had a lot of hardship because of it. If it weren't for FTC FCC and CFPB I wouldn't be fighting anymore. I wish you luck!
Hello, I thank you so much for bringing this subject up! I was receiving so many text messages and scam phone calls, that last month I had to get my phone number changed. The links they left were to act immediately, or I would miss out on my Winnings of 50K. Some had said I was facing legal charges and needed an attorney right a way, if I could not afford one I could pay them for one. And on and on. If you are reading this" Please be Careful"! These People do not care and will take you for your money! Stay Safe! Thank You, for reading. Also look for misspelling on an email or text.
I applied for a bank loan online then soon after text and emails were coming at me all the time. This was even after that on the banks website they informed that my info was not going to be sold. After weeks of ignoring texts , call and moving emails to junk it stopped. If banks say they wont sell personal data and they do what is their punishment?
In reply to I applied for a bank loan… by Lorenzo
Same happened to me from Healthcare.gov! It's been relentless. :(
There MUST be a way the phone companies can block 100% of this. It feels like we are going backwards in time when it comes to tracking phone calls (and texts). Some sort of national or international white list for phone numbers that are verified, traceable numbers. I can choose to have calls not on this list blocked or not and I'll bet most people will chose to blocked "anon" calls. Of course some bad actors will try to spoof numbers on this list, and the ones that get caught can pay fines that will directly support the cost of maintaining this is and accompanying technology. The FTC can put together an list of requirements and put it out to the tech world to bid on a solution. In theory this could even pay for itself.
A few days ago I received a text that said "Your Medicare has been recalculated. Call this number. I deleted.
I have Cricket as a mobile provided. I cannot reply to 7726 (SPAM) . It must be a 10-digit phone number.
In reply to I have Cricket as a mobile… by Barbara Baranowski
Unfortunately I personally have found this to be the case with many of the carriers that are prepaid or no contract. They often have very poor or no customer service. Also it seems that scammers target customers of these same carriers. It is so irritating. In my opinion the phone billing has really gotten out of proportion to it's value. Cell phones are highly intrusive in daily life . They can be life saving in the right situations, but they can also cause a great deal of harm same with the internet that all these devices connect to. I think the only way to get these tech giants in check unfortunately is just to quit using their services and products. Unlikely but, it would make them take notice. All you realistically can do is make sure you understand the technology you use and do your own due diligence.I can totally relate to your frustrations.
So after we report it then what are we suppose to do?? There has to be something more the Government can do to prevent this.
In reply to So after we report it then… by Leo Rodriguez
I 1000% agree. Just because we report a number or email about being scammed and taken advantage of doesn't resolve anything for the public/victims.
There has to be more action such that scammers feel a threat to their actions and since there is none, they will continue hurting the public, stealing from victims and always having the upper hand. The government needs to step up and be held accountable. If not them, then the companies that open account access to these scammers should be next in line to stopping the unfair practices allowed over the internet.
I get spam every single day, but delete it as fast as I find it. I NEVER click any links on my phone, especially if I never asked for anything or any information. But, thank you FTC for this message. I'll certainly pass it along. I've found that on most social media sites, my "friends" almost always ignore the message, regardless of how important it may be. From now on, I will forward phone messages to my provider. Thanks for giving us the number.
In reply to Every time I forward a spam… by Kenneth Johnston
I have been getting fake messages using PayPal as their name!
Many texts arrived to me with Link like I need to claim the gifts
Commendable service. Thanks a lot.
Lots of text messages on my cell or emails you have packages for delivery from Fed-x or USPS. I have only ordered one thing and have received it. Lots potty email messages too in spam and my att. email or Russian or Columbian girls. I am tired of the potty or inuendo emails. I delete all spam without opening them and try to block them if I can on my phone and computer.
What's the best way to handle these emails, block them or classify them as junk?
i got hooked by one that looked like Kohls. looked very legit. one thhing my son taught me is if you have a question about a text...i get a lot from what look like home depot. if you hover youur mouse ofver the title of the email and it has garbled looking or non related tet, that what youre really headed for if you click the link!
I get a lot of emails saying you have been selected for this free prize, or I receive emails saying I made a big purchase and it's on the way confirm for delivery , and please verify that you are expecting a delivery from UPS, and I'm on the do not call list it doesn't stop.
Recently recd e-mail from thought to be trusted source. Clicked different place in body of msg and gave acct #, then a flash and reqtd SS#. Before I could delete SS#, screen rolled up. This is a frightening episode which can go on for several yrs before whoever/whatever takes action, and I am devastated.
In reply to Recently recd e-mail from… by Louise S Ratliff
I'm so sorry. The hacking, spoofing, conning can really make us feel vulnerable. The good news is that banks, agencies, etc. are aware of it and will protect you if something happens. It's really amazing to see ALL of the federal agencies on TOP of it and even ahead of it. I read several older supreme court cases from 2013-2016 that were cast aside for consumer's/plaintiffs making defeat the only option. It's NOT that way anymore!!!
Thank you for this information. Please continue to keep us informed about scammers and what we need to do.
My son has received a job offer through texting (interview and instrucciones). He received paper work through email. The company offers to buy the equipment and send money to cover the expenses. The check was received and now the have asked him to zelle part of the amount. Do you think this is a scam?
In reply to My son has received a job… by Claudia AA
I got a recent email that I ordered firewall for $500. What can I do about this email?
2022 I got scammed by Apple, did what I was told to get 3 Apple gift cards read the #’s and it was a scam! contacted,made a police report,no response from Apple!
Again I got scammed by Amazon a bedspread purchase but they sent the wrong size so I made called a phone# listed by Google on Corpus Christi Texas listed followed the instruction they too @ $1000 from some numbers but I didn’t give acct not the account # WF bank! I’m 80 yrs old and
embarrassed to call or go to my bank! I believe now the phone #’s listed are false, I don’t have a legitimate phone # to Amazon,afraid to call,when I call the first time that the purchase was the wrong size the clerk say oh we will send the correct size! 3 days later I rec’d the same wrong size! That’s when I called the listed # google showed 3#’s I chose one of them,but I found out those where the scammers! I’m a widow 1 1/2 yr. I’m afraid to now call Amazon because it might be the wrong #!
Now are you legit? Sorry for long my story😢