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How to Avoid Text Scams

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Do you use text messaging?  Nowadays, most of us send text messages to each other and receive them from friends, family, and sometimes strangers.  The latter, text messages from strange numbers, are occurring more frequently as criminals have growing success with text scams.


Smishing, phishing performed via SMS text message or messaging applications, has become popular over the years and anyone with a cellphone can be a target.  Scammers use links that, when clicked, install malware onto a device or open websites that trick users into entering sensitive information.  They may also request sensitive information or a call back to a scam phone number.  Often these scam messages can be hard to detect as they may be well-worded, appear to come from legitimate organizations, and use shortened links that are not instinctively suspicious.  These text messages use a variety of ruses, such as messages appearing to come from:

  • Banks indicating your cards or accounts have been frozen or a fraudulent transaction has been processed.
  • Utility companies identifying problems with your account or payments.
  • Phone companies threatening to cancel services.
  • Coworkers or the CEO of your company asking for information or to be contacted.


Only you can protect yourself against these scam messages.  Below are tips for handling scam text messages:

  • Do not click unsolicited links or attachments nor respond to unknown phone numbers.
  • Treat urgent messages, such as security alerts or coupon offers, as suspicious.
  • Watch for unusual phone numbers that don’t follow the 10-digit pattern as these are common for scam text messages.
  • Ignore text messages from banks and other merchants that request sensitive information or ask you to update your password or PIN.
  • Contact the supposed sender organization using a trusted phone number found on their website if you are unsure about the legitimacy of a message (do not trust the phone number that sent the text message).
  • Delete suspicious text messages to avoid accidentally clicking links.
  • Report scam text messages to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at or forward the message to 7726 (SPAM).


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Categories: CapFed® News , Safety and Security
Tags: About CapFed , Kansas City , Lawrence , Topeka , Wichita

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