Vexing Texts

by Carol Kando-Pineda Attorney, FTC

Who doesn’t like to get something for free? That’s what scammers are hoping when they send out messages like this:

You’ve been selected for a free $1000 giftcard!

Enter the code ‘FREE’ at yourfavestore.com.shop.biz to get it now.

Only 112 left! Text OUT to stop.

But if you do as the text says, you’ll end up at a website that requires you to give up your personal information to claim your “free” gift. Once you’ve shared your information, the site pushes you to sign up for more than a dozen risky trial offers (which aren’t free) to qualify for the supposedly free gift card they promised you.

Hold the phone! If you get a spam text:

  • Delete it!  In fact, get rid of any texts asking you to confirm or provide personal information.Legitimate companies don’t ask for information like account numbers or passwords by text or email.
  • Don’t reply, and don’t click on links provided in the message. Links can install malware and take you to spoof sites that look real but whose purpose is to steal your information.
  • Don’t give out any personal information in response to a text. A spammer may want access to your Social Security number, credit card numbers, and bank and utility account numbers to open new accounts in your name.
  • Report spam texts to your carrier. AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint or Bell subscribers can copy the original text and forward it to 7726 (SPAM), free of charge.
  • Review your cell phone bill for unauthorized charges. Report them to your carrier.

Learn more about how to deal with text message spam.