Susan Tompor: As robocalls get blocked, text messages could be next big thing for scammers: What to know

Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Business News

The ongoing pandemic-related stress surely must be worth a free gift, bonus or some sort of discount somewhere.

Unfortunately, we're seeing an onslaught of texts promoting fake COVID-19-themed discounts and deals.

The Better Business Bureau mentions two specific scams that are hitting consumers in September.

There's the text pretending to be from Hulu. "Due to the pandemic, Hulu is giving everyone a free one-year subscription to help you stay at home." All you have to do is click on a link, which of course, will lead to all sorts of trouble.

And there's the text pretending to be from Verizon. "COVID-19 REFUND. VERIZON COMPANY is giving out $950 to all users of our Verizon service." Again, let's think about this a bit. Why would Verizon or any company be giving out hundreds of dollars in refund cash? Yep, it's a scam.

The texts are scammers


Texting is a turning into a hot way for scammers to entice harried consumers and catch them off guard.

Across the country, there have been media reports about fake texts that promise $500 for low-income home energy assistance, an extra $1,400 in government stimulus money, more scammers pretending to be from Amazon, and phony text messages from the Department of Motor Vehicles in some states promising refund cash of $600 or more.

As the holiday shopping season heats up, consumers would be wise to once again watch out for fake texts from UPS, FedEx and the United Postal Service, too. Some phony texts might alert you to an "overdue" package or request money for delivery of a package.

Texts could be the new thing, as phone services block more illegal robocalls. Caller ID authentication — which was to be in place for big carriers by June 30 — is designed to make it easier for phone companies to block illegal robocalls in the first place or label them as likely spam.


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