How many text messages do you send and receive on any given day? The answer varies by demographics, but most of us can say that we use texting as a vital form of communication with friends, family, and office mates. The average American sends or receives an average of 41.5 messages per day according to Pew Research. In fact, text messaging has become so popular that Pew reports it is tied with using photos as the most used app on a smartphone as of 2022. Young adults are by far the most prolific users of texting (some sending upwards of 200 text messages a day), but adults are making a comeback. Sadly, texting is not always done for fun, business, or to send cute emojis. Guess who else is using texting? Scammers are. We knew it would eventually happen as more and more smartphone users are reluctant to even answer their phones if they don’t recognize the number and landlines are becoming a thing of the past.
Examples of Text Scams
Scams that involve texts can come in many forms. Some of the more popular versions are texts that announce you have won a prize and all you have to do is click the link to claim it. Other texts include messages that thank you for paying your bill and provide a link to check your balance. Some scam texts are less friendly and threaten the power of the police or the IRS for failure to pay a tax bill or appear in court. It is important to note that government agencies and municipalities generally do not contact people via text message. Rather, if any legitimate government agency needs to contact you, they will usually do so via mail or certified letter.Given the drastic rise in deliveries over the past two years, the example of fraudulent text messages from places like Amazon and other retailers was inevitable. While legitimate delivery companies do send text messages, it is usually to let you know a delivery is on its way and not to ask for personal data. One last common text scam includes a text that tells you a family member is in need of financial help. The sender tries to convince you that wiring money is necessary to prevent a financial or medical emergency – or that a loved one is involved in a kidnapping situation. For this one, we suggest contacting the relative if you can and otherwise call the authorities.
What To Do If You Get A Text Message Scam
Chances are that you will get one of these text messages eventually. First, do not respond or react. Block the number and delete the text after you report it. If you respond you are merely telling the scammer that the number is active and to keep trying. Do not click on links or fill out any forms that are attached to any texts that you were not expecting. Once you have come to the realization that the text you are receiving is a scam, report it. The Federal Trade Commission takes reports of these scams at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Additionally, you will want to report it as fraudulent by copying the message and forwarding it to 7726 (SPAM).