It's all too common these days for brands and companies to use text messaging as a marketing strategy to get you to purchase items when they're newly released, when they go on sale, etc.
You've probably opted in for text messages from your favorite brands or even new brands that offered a first-timer discount. But there has been an increasing number of spam text messages sent to people's cell phones that are causing concern. Here's what you need to look out for.
Don't Click on a Text That You Get from Yourself
Verizon published a community forum on Sunday informing customers about the spike in recent spam texts that tell people their monthly bill has been paid and they can get a free gift if they click on a provided link. This text looks pretty harmless because it comes from your own number, so people are easily duped into thinking that it's legitimate.
Once people click on the link for a free goodie, they're redirected to a Russian state TV network called Channel One. This problem has apparently become so prevalent that the Biden administration is cautioning companies to be on the alert for cyberattacks and the Federal Trade Commission also released some information about this con, giving instructions on how to recognize phishing and avoid phishing scams.
Verizon's instructions are to simply delete the text and not click on the link provided, no matter what they might be offering.
"Verizon is aware that bad actors are sending spam text messages to some customers which appear to come from the customers' own number," the company told CBS MoneyWatch. "Our team is actively working to block these messages, and we have engaged with U.S. law enforcement to identify and stop the source of this fraudulent activity. Verizon continues to work on behalf of the customer to prevent spam texts and related activity."
Chris Welch of The Verge wrote about his experience being scammed, and he said the most frustrating part was that there was no way of notifying his carrier, Verizon Wireless, that this had taken place. The fact that this message came from his own cell phone number means that these kinds of scams are becoming more sophisticated as the days go by.
Just remember not to click on the link no matter what they're offering, and if you suspect that the message is spam and you're a Verizon customer, you can forward the text to SPAM (7726).