In 2021, over 47 billion spam texts were sent and there was a 146% increase in the number of complaints about spam texts.
In fact, robotexts are now more common than robocalls.
A few weeks ago, Brad S. woke up to a text message one morning.
The message wasn’t from family or a co-worker. Rather, the text message came from his phone number.
The text read, “Your bill is paid for March. Here is a gift for you.” The text included a website link.
But this wasn’t the first time Brad received a text like this.
In the past few months, he received similar texts from scammers pretending to be Verizon and other companies.
The reality is that scammers have used internet tools to spoof numbers to make the text messages appear to come from whatever number they want.
If Brad had clicked on the links in the robotexts they would have likely asked for personal information such as credit card numbers.
The rise in text messages has occurred because they are so easy to send. Criminals can use computers to send out thousands of texts.
With these texts on the rise, here are some things to know about this scam and a few ways to protect yourself.
What does a robotext look like?:
The most common robotext is one impersonating popular companies. Often, the text will claim to be from companies such as UPS, Amazon, and FedEx.
Also, the text will be very enticing. For instance, one popular text going around will claim that UPS was unable to deliver your Samsung TV.
Another sign of a robotext is that they will come from ten-digit numbers.
A lot of companies that send out legitimate text messages will send them from shortcodes that are six-digit numbers.
What to do if you get a robotext?:
The most important thing to do if you receive a robotext is to never respond.
Don’t even reply “STOP” because this will indicate to the scammer that you are a legitimate number.
Also, you can report the robotext to your cell carrier who can work to block the number from future robotexts.
Another thing you can do is download an app to your smartphone that will filter texts.
TextKiller is an app that will block unwanted texts, and calls. The app puts unwanted texts in another folder and lists them as junk.
It filters out the scammers using Machine Learning to maintain accuracy. The app is able to stop 99% of spam texts.
RoboKiller is a similar app that blocks 95% of robotexts and calls.
The app uses predictive blocking technology that analyzes the text and blocks them.
You can also pick how aggressively you want the app to block unwanted calls.
There is also a customizable block feature so you can add unwanted numbers.
They also deal with robocalls by sending them recorded messages to waste their time.
SMS Shield is one of the best apps for blocking robotexts. It protects users from ads, spam, and phishing attempts.
One neat feature of the app is that it will block texts that are sent in offline mode.
In other words, it does a good job of blocking texts that don’t come from legitimate numbers.
The app also has a traveler mode. This lets you block marketing texts that might come from a hotel or other places you are visiting while traveling.
Next time you get a text message from “yourself,” remember that it’s a fraud.
Once you click on the link you could be exposing your personal information to criminals.
Don’t respond or communicate with a number that you have not verified as being legitimate.