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

In some cases, the scammers even will text you with a so-called warning about potential fraud on your account.

Here's a key tip: "If you are busy," AT&T warns, "don't do anything with the message until you can really evaluate the authenticity."

The Federal Trade Commission, which has been tracking virus-related scams, noted that texting has turned out to be the third most popular way for scammers to connect with consumers.

The FTC noted that 16,237 fraud reports relating to COVID-19 and stimulus money involved consumers who received an offer, alert or other message via text.

The No. 1 method of contact was email with 18,466 fraud reports from Jan. 1, 2020 through Sept. 16, followed by scam-driven websites or apps with 16,888 fraud reports.

Texts can look much more authentic if they appear to be sent from big, well-known names — such as Netflix, Hulu, Verizon and AT&T.


Consumers told me that they've received texts pretending to be from AT&T that state: "We accidentally overcharged your phone bill last month."

Texts might prove useful to scammers because, well, they might look harmless. But experts say you just want to delete those text messages immediately.

The BBB notes: "Scammers often send shortened links that don't let you see where they really lead in the body of their text message. If you click the link, you could be directed to a dangerous website, or you could download malware onto your device."

Anyone who remains hopeful of a deal should go directly to the company itself. Look up the company's official website or a statement you have from the company and make a call or send an email.


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