MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A scam is circulating the nation and it’s coming from an unlikely source: your own cellphone number.
Chris Welch, an editor and reviewer at “The Verge,” normally writes about how technology can help you.
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But on Monday the latest scam popped up on his phone: a text from himself.
“To see it as your own number – there’s something weird and unsettling about that. And so I checked on Twitter, and sure enough, a big wave of people had gotten this text,” Welch explained.
He said the text congratulates you for paying a bill and includes a link. Welch clicked on it for his own investigation.
“The link in my case took me to Channel One Russia, which is a state media TV network,” he said.
The scam is targeting Verizon wireless users. Verizon says it has significantly curtailed the activity. The company released the following statement:
“We are actively working with others in our industry and with U.S. Law Enforcement… We have no indication of any Russian involvement.”
Fraud experts say our phones have become the contact method of choice for scammers, and we should treat our phone number the way we do other sensitive information.
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The National Consumers League says phishing scams were the third most-reported type of fraud complaint in 2021.
“Really, just the best advice for most people is just delete the text, ignore it, don’t click on the link,” said John Breyault with the National Consumers League.
–You can also forward the message to the Federal Trade Commission at 7726
–Report the phishing scam to local police or your state attorney general
–Tell friends, family and co-workers
Welch says the scam isn’t going away quickly.
Right after his conversation with CBS News, he received another text from himself.
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Fraud experts recommend you don’t show the link you received on social media or anywhere that gives the scammers more exposure.