Have you been getting Scammers Text from your own number? You are not alone and are not having an out-of-body experience. The latest spam text message trend involves users receiving texts from their own phone number.
The messages typically claim to be from the recipient’s wireless carrier and include a link to a “free gift.” Users on Reddit and Twitter say the link instead leads to potentially malicious websites.
It’s all very confusing. Here’s what you need to know and do about spam texts:
Why your getting these scammers texts messages form you own number
According to The Verge, the issue appears to be limited to Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon confirmed the issue to CNBC Make It.
“Bad actors have been sending text messages to some Verizon customers that appear to be from their own number,” said Verizon spokesperson Rich Young. “Since learning about the scheme, our company has taken significant steps to stop it.”
As part of an investigation aimed at identifying and stopping these fraudsters and their illegal actions, Verizon is “actively working with others in our industry and with U.S. law enforcement.”
As of Thursday, Robokiller, a company that makes a mobile app to block spam calls and texts, had tracked over 5,000 similar spam text messages.
According to Robokiller, typical spam texts include “Free Msg: Your bill is paid for March” and a dubious link offering a free gift. In other cases, the spam message includes a link to a Verizon survey, CNET reports.
A writer for The Verge noted that clicking on a link in one message took them to the Russian government’s Channel One Russia website. “We have no indication of Russian involvement,” Young said.
“We are closely monitoring this situation and have not seen anything similar on our network,” said an AT&T spokesman. T-Mobile did not respond to a request for comment from CNBC Make It.
What about other kinds of spam texts?
The recent wave of same-number spam texts comes amid an increase in spam messages received by US wireless customers.
The FCC warned last year that spam texts were rising during the Covid-19 pandemic, with scammers preying on desperate Americans suffering from health or financial issues. In 2021, Americans received 87.8 billion spam text messages, up 58% from the previous year.
This type of spam text is known as SMS phishing, where scammers try to trick wireless users into sharing personal information or clicking malware-laden links. In some cases, spammers “spoof” your phone’s Caller ID to appear to be from a local or government number.
In the case of the same-number spam texts, it appears that “bad actors” can even spoof recipients’ own numbers.
What To Do If Scammers Text You From Your Own Number?
Experts advise against answering calls or texts from unknown or unidentified numbers.
The FCC advises against sending personal or financial information via email, text, or phone. According to the agency, don’t click on links or attachments in text messages, and call your friend before clicking to make sure they weren’t hacked.
Verizon offers similar advice for dealing with suspicious texts. The firm advises against responding to suspicious messages. Instead, Verizon advises customers to forward spam texts to S-P-A-M. (7726).
You can also report spam texts and emails to government agencies and law enforcement by using the FTC’s online fraud complaint form or the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
If you accidentally click on a malicious link, experts advise you to avoid entering any data and disconnecting your device from the internet. Then go into your device’s settings and delete any apps you don’t remember installing.
If you think your accounts have been compromised, you can use an antivirus app to scan your device for malware. You can also freeze your credit for free if you suspect any of your personal or financial information has been compromised.