When it comes to spotting scams, it is important to scrutinize all forms of digital communication—particularly those that do not come from somebody you know. In recent year, this has become more important in regard to text or multimedia messages to your phone.
While there will always be nefarious actors trying to scam others, you can safeguard yourself by following some best practices to protect yourself from these text message fraudsters. It’s time to shut the door on scammers!
Do You Know The Sender? Are You in an Active Conversation with Them?
Text or multimedia messages from people you have saved into your contacts or are in active conversation with and know are safe, but with the continued rise of digital technology, text and multimedia messaging has increasingly been used as a marketing tool.
This means you may have opted in to receiving messages from certain retailers or services. It is very important to make sure you know the text message is legitimate before opening the message. If you have recently ordered something online, and receive a message from the retailer such as Amazon or Best Buy, or if you receive a message from a delivery service such as FedEx or UPS, these are legitimate messages. If you opted in for routine marketing texts from certain retailers and you aren’t sure, call them to make sure the text is legitimate before opening it.
If the marketing texts you receive from companies come from the same number, consider saving it in your contacts to mark it as safe.
Additionally, if a text message comes in from an unknown number and refers to you as “Customer” instead of your name or misspells your name, this is surefire sign the message is fraudulent.
Avoid Clicking Links
Unless the link is sent by someone you personally know and actively converse with, the best practice is just avoid opening links from messages, altogether. Because scammers have become quite adept at imitating genuine retailers and services, it is always best to log in to the interface directly through your computer or an internet application on your phone.
For instance, if FedEx sends you a tracking update text message, you can always enter the package number directly into their website or log in to track packages if you have an account. The vast majority of retailers and services will allow you to track things this way, which is much safer.
Block Fraudulent Callers & Texters
Each time you see a fraudulent text or receive a spammy phone call, immediately cease communications and block the phone number. This is very easy to do on most devices.
Some text messages will obviously be fraudulent. You may see misspellings or come across awkward use of English grammar. The supposed company may be misspelled by one letter or the link may contain a slight spelling error. These are dead giveaways—block them and move on.
Be sure to practice the above with your text messages, and you will stop fraudsters in their digital tracks!