By special guest blogger Caitlin Watkins

Text message scams are crafted to get people to tell scam artists their personal information. To do so, they tempt you with offers and enticing rewards, but don’t be fooled by the promise of money and free vacations. Spam can slow your cell phone connection, add charges to your phone bill, and put you at risk for identity theft.

 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is cracking down on text message scam by charging  twelve defendants under two groups of companies who are guilty of spamming consumers via text messages. They are required to pay a $2.5 million fine and banned from these deceptive practices completely.

 

These companies hired spammers to send millions of unsolicited text messages stating that the recipient had won free gift cards. When the link in the message is clicked, it brings the consumer to a website that asks for your personal information. Unfortunately, no one ever received the free gift cards, and instead, people were scammed into handing over personal confidential information which was then sold to third party vendors. We are glad that the FTC is stepping up to protect consumers personal information.

 

Here’s how to avoid those pesky text message scams yourself, according to the FTC:

  • Even though it may seem like your lucky day, DO NOT REPLY to these text messages. Most importantly, DO NOT CLICK on the links in the message. This could install malware onto your device.

  • Delete the text messages asking you to confirm or provide personal information.

  • Hold your personal confidential information close! Do not give them out to anyone, especially in a text message.

  • Add your cell phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry.

  • If you keep receiving text message spam, you can file a complaint at the Do No Not Call Registry, with the FTC, or with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

  • If you are an AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint or Bell subscriber, you can report spam texts to your carrier by copying the original message and forwarding it to the number 7726 (SPAM), free of charge.

  • Review your cell phone bill for unauthorized charges, and report them to your carrier.

Have you ever gotten a spammy scammy text message? Share your story with us here!