Today, we credit the FTC consumer information blog as the source for our weekly effort to educate our community. The blog addresses the growing problem of text message spam.
Scammers often use the promise of free gifts, like computers or gift cards, or product offers, like cheap mortgages, credit cards, or debt relief services to get you to reveal personal information. To claim your gift or pursue an offer, you may need to share personal information including how much money you make, how much you owe, or your bank account information, credit card number, or Social Security number. Clicking on a link in the message can install malware that collects information from your phone. Once the spammer has your information, it is sold to marketers or, worst case scenario—identity thieves.
These spam texts can also lead to unwanted charges on your cell phone bill as well as slow down the performance of your phone by taking up space on your phone’s memory.
With few exceptions (of course political campaigns can text), for the most part, no one can send you a text without your permission.
To stop the spam texting:
- Delete text messages that ask you to confirm or provide personal information: Legitimate companies don’t ask for information like your account numbers or passwords by email or text.
- Don’t reply, and don’t click on links provided in the message
- Treat your personal information like cash: Your Social Security number, credit card numbers, and bank and utility account numbers can be used to steal your money or open new accounts in your name. Don’t give them out in response to a text.
- Place your cell phone number on the National Do No Call Registry
- If you are an AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint or Bell subscriber, you can report spam texts to your carrier by copying the original message and forwarding it to the number 7726 (SPAM), free of charge.
- Review your cell phone bill for unauthorized charges, and report them to your carrier.
For more on best practices in identity theft protection, please visit www.legalshred.com