The text message scam attempts to trick people with the promise of a “free gift.”
HARTFORD, Conn. — The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning residents about a texting scam on the rise recently.
The BBB said in a release BBB Scam Tracker has received numerous reports of a text message scam that attempts to trick people with the promise of a “free gift.”
Mobile phone users get a text message that says something to the effect of “Your bill is paid for March. Thanks, here’s a little gift for you.” A link to an unfamiliar website is included.
There is no information as to what bill was paid, what company the message is coming from, or what the total amount was. In addition, the message may be a group text sent to a dozen or more other people, none of whom are in your contacts list.
The BBB said the text isn’t from a real company. The scammers’ goal is to get people’s personal information, which puts them at risk for identity theft. Consumers may also be directed to a website asking them to “confirm your identity,” to receive the gift. Scammers may also ask for credit card information, claiming an extra payment of a few dollars is needed to ship the “free” gift.
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Here’s advice from the BBB as to how to avoid text message scams
Don’t click on links from strangers. In fact, be wary of suspicious links forwarded to you by friends, too. Even well-meaning friends may forward suspicious links without realizing they’ve been scammed. Scammers often use links along with either an exciting offer or a threat as part of a phishing scam. They want to elicit an emotional response from you, so you’ll click on the link without thinking.
Call the company directly to confirm messages sent by text. If you think the message came from a company you do business with, call them directly before you click on any links. Keep in mind that businesses need your permission to send you text messages. If you never opted in to receive text messages from a company, the text is probably a scam.
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Use good judgement. Scammers love to trick people with offers that are too good to be true. If you get a message promising you’ll receive an amazing gift for free, it’s probably a scam.
Avoid getting scammed by reading the BBB Tip: Spot the red flags of fake text messages. You can also find helpful tips at BBB.org/AvoidScams.
Become a skilled scam spotter by visiting BBB.org/SpotaScam and report any suspicious activity to BBB.org/ScamTracker.
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Doug Stewart is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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