Identify and Stop Scam/Spam Text Messages

Last Updated on by SCARS Editorial Team

Identify and Stop ScamScam A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime -  is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost./Spam Text Messages

Staying Safe On Your Phone

A SCARSSCARS SCARS - Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. A government registered crime victims' assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. SCARS supports the victims of scams worldwide and through its partners in more than 60 countries around the world. Incorporated in 2015, its team has 30 years of continuous experience educating and supporting scam victims. Visit www.AgainstScams.org to learn more about SCARS. Guide

Text Message ScamsScams A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime -  is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost., Phishing Messages, & Spam Texts

One Of The Greatest Battlegrounds Of Today’s Internet Is On Your Phone!

Text and Instant messaging is a growing source of cybercrimeCybercrime Cybercrime is a crime related to technology, computers, and the Internet. Typical cybercrime are performed by a computer against a computer, or by a hacker using software to attack computers or networks. and this means that as much as half of all are victimized. In Brazil. alone in 2020 there were more than 5 million WhatsApp victims.

Of course, no one likes spam messages, but there is far more to this than a simple annoyance.

This SCARS Guide will help you to identify and avoid these online and on-device risks.

Current Trends On Cybercrime

  1. Phishing attacks are still extremely common
  2. Credential phishing is becoming less common
  3. Spear phishing emails are the most popular targeted attack vector
  4. Human intelligence is the best defense against phishing attacks
  5. Phishing attacks are getting more sophisticated
  6. Attackers are using tricks such as Zombie Phish and shortened URLs
  7. Webmail and SaaS users continue to be the biggest targets
  8. Smaller organizations see a higher rate of malicious emails
  9. Malicious emails are most likely to hit mining companies
  10. People in Saudi Arabia are most likely to receive malicious emails
  11. Many data breaches stem from phishing attacks
  12. Knowledge of phishing terms varies among generations
  13. Sextortion is a common tactic in phishing campaigns
  14. Popular appsApps Applications or Apps An application (software), commonly referred to as an ‘app’ is a program on a computer, tablet, mobile phone or device. Apps are designed for specific tasks, including checking the weather, accessing the internet, looking at photos, playing media, mobile banking, etc. Many apps can access the internet if needed and can be downloaded (used) either for a price or for free. Apps are a major point of vulnerability on all devices. Some are designed to be malicious, such as logging keystrokes or activity, and others can even transport malware. Always be careful about any app you are thinking about installing. continue to be used to distribute malwareMalware Short for "malicious software," this term means computer viruses and other types of programs that cybercriminals use to disrupt or access your computer, typically with the aim of gathering sensitive files and accounts.
  15. Secure Email Gateway (SEG) are far from free of phishing attacks
  16. Malicious attachments remain common
  17. Some phishing attack payloads are location-aware
  18. SSLSSL Secure Socket Layer (SSL) - SSL technology secretly encodes information that is sent over the Internet between your computer and the bank, helping to ensure that the information remains confidential. is no longer an indicator of a safe site.
  19. Gift cards are still a popular form of payment in BEC attacks
  20. A custom phishing page costs $3–12

Confused Consumers

Most people believe that they know a scam when they see one. Most users also believe that “scams could never happen to me…” but a recent study by McAfee shows that over 97% of consumers were unable to correctly identify phishing scams when presented with them.

As digital communication has evolved so has the sophistication of cybercriminals. In addition to fraudulent phone calls and email phishing scams, text scams have become more common with the proliferation of smartphones and the emergence of text and instant messages as a part of everyday communication. This type of fraudFraud In law, fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain (money or other assets), or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud can violate civil law (e.g., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compensation) or criminal law (e.g., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities), or it may cause no loss of money, property, or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong. The purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, for example by obtaining a passport, travel document, or driver's license, or mortgage fraud, where the perpetrator may attempt to qualify for a mortgage by way of false statements. A fraud can also be a hoax, which is a distinct concept that involves deliberate deception without the intention of gain or of materially damaging or depriving a victim. is also known as “smishingSmishing What is a smishing attack? Smishing is a form of social engineering that exploits SMS, or text, messages. Text messages can contain links to such things as webpages, email addresses or phone numbers that when clicked may automatically open a browser window or email message or dial a number. This integration of email, voice, text message, and web browser functionality increases the likelihood that users will fall victim to engineered malicious activity..”

SMS phishing (aka Smishing) is the fraudulent solicitation of your personal information through the use of text messaging. Although far less common than other kinds of digital dupes, smishing can be effective due to the personal nature of our inbox. After all, texts are reserved for close friends, family, and businesses who we have consented to connect.

So, how can you protect yourself from smishing scams and spot them before it’s too late? We have the low down on all the warning signs as well as what to do if you encounter one.

SimpleTexting Tip: To help you out, we have a team dedicated to compliance who monitor messages sent through ST for suspicious activity to ensure our platform is only used for good!

5 Tips

To Identify Fake Text Messages or Text Scams

While each text scam looks a little different, there are some common hallmarks of these messages you can look out for that serve as dead giveaways for fraud.

1. Unusually Long Numbers

Legitimate SMS marketing messages are often sent from a 6-digit shortcode (like 711711), a 10-digit toll-free number (ex: 844-462-2554) or a local text-enabled business phone. If you were to receive a text message from an unidentified 11-digit number, the odds are high that it’s a scam.

So, even if they identify themselves as your bank, realtor, insurance agent, etc. you should look to the number the message was sent from for verification. The potential of this happening is low, but it is still something to be wary of!

2. Random Family Emergency Texts

The family emergency scam is one of the most common tricks according to the FCC. In this instance, you’ll receive a text message saying something along the lines of “your family member who lives in __ (or is traveling in __) has run into some trouble. They’re in need of financial help and a money transfer is the only way to help them.” In some instances, they can even say that contacting this family member will cause them danger.

These texts can be very frightening, which is why they work. However, before you take any action or send money, take a pause. Attempt to verify the person’s identity by asking questions a stranger couldn’t know the answers to. Reach out to a trusted family member or friend to verify the scammerScammer A Scammer or Fraudster is someone that engages in deception to obtain money or achieve another objective. They are criminals that attempt to deceive a victim into sending more or performing some other activity that benefits the scammer.’s story (even if they say to keep it a secret). And always feel free to call 1-877-FTCFTC The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is an independent agency of the United States government whose principal mission is the enforcement of civil (non-criminal) U.S. antitrust law and the promotion of consumer protection. The FTC can also act as a clearinghouse for criminal reports sent to other agencies for investigation and prosecution. To learn more visit www.FTC.gov or to report fraud visit ReportFraud.FTC.gov-HELP for advice.

EXAMPLE:
Today 11:34 AM
Your grandson is being held in jail. He needs bail money right away.

3. Refund Scams

Another common smishing scam comes not in the form of asking for money, but in claiming money is owed to you. A fake refund often comes from a “government” agency or monthly billing program (like your cell phone provider) letting you know you were “overcharged”. Oftentimes they will direct you to share direct deposit information so a charge can be reversed. In this case, once they secure your routing number, they can access your account and steal from you.

EXAMPLE:
Today 9:55 AM
AT&T: Your postpaid account has been charged USD500 for LTE use. Is this a wrong charge? Text 500 send to 2936XXXXXXX for REFUND

4. Reactivation Scam

These scams tend to look innocent on the surface. They generally say something along the lines of “your [email, text, app] password has been [comprised, used with another device, hacked]. Your account has been deactivated for your protection. Text XXXXX to reactivate your account.” In the case of these messages, simply delete the messages (and report them). Do NOT reply or send passwords. Simply check the accounts in question. When you see they haven’t been deactivated you’ll have your answer.

EXAMPLE:
Today 3:00 PM
User #25388: Your Gmail profile has been compromised. We have deactivated it for your protection. Text back SENDNOW in order to reactivate your account.

5. “You’ve Won a Prize!”

Another one of the most common text scams is also the simplest. Recipients receive a text informing them that they’ve won a prize, giveaway, or something of that nature. Through either a hyperlink or reply they’re instructed to reach out to claim the reward. However, this is yet another ploy to receive your personal information.

In this case, if you did not enter to win anything, ignore the message. If you’re not sure if you did (let’s face it, we all enter contests hoping for something every now and then) reach out to the brand on their verified website or social media pages to double-check.

What to Do if You Fall Victim to a Text Scam

If you “fall” for a text scam, know that you’re not alone. Last year 47,567 different scams were added to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Scam Tracker, with numerous victims for each new plot.

The good news is, the worst-case scenario is not always the most common. Just because you’ve sent money to a scammer doesn’t mean that tomorrow you’ll be homeless and penniless. The important thing is to realize your mistake and act as quickly as you can.

  • Cancel credit cards used for transactions and report the fraud
  • Inform your cell phone carrier of the fraudulent number and incident
  • BlockBlock Blocking is a technical action usually on social media or messaging platforms that restricts or bans another profile from seeing or communicating with your profile. To block someone on social media, you can usually go to their profile and select it from a list of options - often labeled or identified with three dots ••• the number from your phone
  • Change your passwords on important/sensitive apps such as online banking, social media, any other space with personal information stored.

Once you’ve taken these precautions, the FTC warns of a few possible outcomes from the scam:

  • Malware: responding to a text can potentially invite malware to get installed on your device which can gather personal information.
  • Unwanted charges: due to the fact that message and data rates may apply to any text exchange, you may notice unwanted charges on your next cellphone bill due to your interaction with the scammers.
  • Slow cell speeds: junk or spam installed on your phone from hackers may cause your phone’s sending and browsing speeds to slow down.

Tips to Stop Text Scams or “Smishing” Messages

If you’re looking to “can the spam” when you receive it and end the smishing scam for good, there are a few things you can do:

  • Slow down: Often times acting too quickly when you receive these messages can result in an error. The scammers want you to feel confused and rushed. So remember to slow down and don’t fall into the trap of providing an immediate response.
  • Don’t click: Never ever (ever) click on an in-message link if you suspect that it’s spam.
  • Delete the message: Don’t risk accidentally replying to or saving that content on your phone. If you are reporting the message, feel free to take a screenshot for posterity. But then delete it completely.
  • Report the spam: You can report any suspected text spam directly to your carrier or to the FTC through their complaint assistant.

The silver lining in all of this remains: text message scams are far less common than other digital tactics.

Photo Credit: scamwatch.gov.au

Resources

Always remember that knowledge is your greatest defense against scams. For a comprehensive list of the most popular scams and frauds in the US, check out this government-developed guide.

Essential Tools For Every Scam Victim From SCARS

Each is based on our SCARS Team’s 30 plus years of experience.

SCARS GREN BOOK - The SCARS STEPS Guide to Scam Victim Recovery

SCARS GREEN BOOK
Self-Help Self-Paced Recovery Program Guide

LEARN HOW TO RECOVER ON YOUR OWN

This program is designed to help scam victims struggling to recover on their own and for those who want to understand the overall process. You can be using other resources, such as traumaTrauma Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless in a dangerous world. Psychological trauma can leave you struggling with upsetting emotions, memories, and anxiety that won’t go away. It can also leave you feeling numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people. Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety or other emotional shocks, but any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and isolated can result in trauma, even if it doesn’t involve physical harm. It’s not the objective circumstances that determine whether an event is traumatic, but your subjective emotional experience of the event. The more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatized. Trauma requires treatment, either through counseling or therapy or through trauma-oriented support programs, such as those offered by SCARS. counselingCounseling Counseling is the professional guidance of the individual by utilizing psychological methods especially in collecting case history data, using various techniques of the personal interview, and testing interests and aptitudes. A mental health counselor (MHC), or counselor, is a person who works with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental and emotional health. Such persons may help individuals deal with issues associated with addiction and substance abuse; family, parenting, and marital problems; stress management; self-esteem; and aging. They may also work with "Social Workers", "Psychiatrists", and "Psychologists". SCARS does not provide mental health counseling. or therapy, qualified support groupsSupport Groups In a support group, members provide each other with various types of help, usually nonprofessional and nonmaterial, for a particular shared, usually burdensome, characteristic, such as romance scams. Members with the same issues can come together for sharing coping strategies, to feel more empowered and for a sense of community. The help may take the form of providing and evaluating relevant information, relating personal experiences, listening to and accepting others' experiences, providing sympathetic understanding and establishing social networks. A support group may also work to inform the public or engage in advocacy. They can be supervised or not. SCARS support groups are moderated by the SCARS Team and or volunteers., or completely independent – on your own!

The SCARS Steps program is a complete program and is provided for the purpose of helping scam victims to overcome this experience. Throughout this SCARS Steps Program, we speak about issues and challenges that a victim may have and help guide them through their recovery. But each person is different and it is important to understand your own reasons for being vulnerable to being scammed.

After the trauma of being scammed, you need to take steps to recover and move on. This may be an alternative to counseling in the short term, but we still encourage you to seek out professional help & support. Throughout this SCARS Steps Program, we speak about issues, challenges, defects, or problems that a victim may have in a generalized way.

The SCARS GREEN BOOK will help you recover from your scam offline and it will always be there when you need it!

Get it here

SCARS BLUE BOOK - Survivor's Recovery Journal

SCARS BLUE BOOK
A Unique SurvivorSurvivor A Scam Survivor is a victim who has been able to fully accept the reality of their situation. That they were the victim of a crime and are not to blame. They are working on their emotional recovery and reduction of any trauma either on their own, through a qualified support organization, or through counseling or therapy. And has done their duty and reported the crime to their local police, national police, and on Anyscam.com’s Recovery Journal

THE PERFECT DAILY JOURNAL FOR SCAM VICTIMS IN RECOVERY

Give yourself the perfect tool to measure and track your recovery progress while getting the therapeutic benefit of journaling!

This official SCARS Self-Help Recovery Program Journal allows you to record your journey day by day, to be able to look back and see your progress, and measure your achievements. While this is a difficult time in your life, it will get better in time and journaling is an important way to help you through many of those moments, but also to show yourself how strong you are!

The Official SCARS BLUE BOOK is your way of recording this struggle and help yourself through it.

A special discount is available when buying 3 at a time.

Get it here

SCARS RED BOOK - Your Personal Scam Evidence & Crime Record Organizer

SCARS RED BOOK
Your Personal Scam Evidence & Crime Record Organizer

ORGANIZE YOUR INFORMATION TO MAKE THE REPORTING PROCESS SIMPLE!

Helps you get and stay organized. This publication is to help Scam Victims organize their crime information. Complete this information before reporting to the police then bring this book with you

Before or after reporting to the police the RED BOOK gives you a dedicated tool to record all the essential facts of this crime. The Victim, the Scammers, the Money, and your Police interactions. Everything that really matters can be easily recorded for your immediate use and for the future!

As we have seen, money recovery/repayment programs can become available years after the scam ends and you need to keep all the details of this crime in case it is needed. We have also seen scammers being extradited to the U.S. and other countries, this will help in the event you testify or give statements, Additionally, this helps you have your information ready to qualify for victims’ benefits, compensation, or aid.

The Official SCARS RED BOOK is your way of recording all the important facts of this crime so that you do not lose essential information, Complete the RED BOOK then put it away with the confidence that you will have it if or when it is needed.

Get it here

SCARS LIME BOOK - Wisdom & Motivation for Scam Victims

SCARS LIME BOOK
Wisdom & Motivation for Scam Victims

A SURVIVOR’S GUIDE FOR MOTIVATION & WISDOM ABOUT SCAMS & RECOVERY

After the scam, life is filled with challenges and uncertainty. So many things are going wrong and how do you recover from the experience. There is a way. In the SCARS GREEN BOOK we present the complete SCARS Steps Recovery Program, but there is more to it.

You need to keep yourself motivated and understand that you are not the first person to go through this. The SCARS LIME BOOK helps you stay positive and motivated, and gain the wisdom that comes from helping millions of scam victims that SCARS has done.

This small book is packed with motivational insights and survivor wisdom to help you get up every day, make it through the through times, and sleep assured that time heals all emotional wounds.

The Official SCARS LINE BOOK is your way of reminding yourself every day that you are strong and can make it through this!

Get it here

SCARS SLATE BOOK - A Guide For Families & Friends Of Scam Victims

SCARS SLATE BOOK – A Guide For Families & Friends Of Scam Victims

HOW TO HELP ROMANCE SCAM VICTIMS FOR FAMILIES & FRIENDS OF SCAM VICTIMS

This SCARS Publishing book represents a complete guide to help the families and friends understand how these scams work and how to help the victim.

The SCARS Slate Book should be purchased by family and friends to better understand what happened to the victim and the traumatic impact on them. But it can also be shared by the victim so that they do not have to explain to family and friends about the scam. This publication is to help others to help Scam Victims to make it through this traumatic experience and recover.

Each person is different and it is important to understand how relationship scamsRelationship Scam A Relationship Scam is a one-to-one criminal act that involves a trust relationship and uses deception & manipulation to get a victim to give to the criminal something of value, such as money! Click here to learn more: What Is A Relationship Scam? work and why people are vulnerable; to being scammed, how they were lured in, then groomed and manipulated. This understanding is essential in helping them through the process of ending the scam and then on to recovery. The SCARS Slate Book will provide the information necessary to help support a victim through this process.

Get it here

SCARS PEARL BOOK - The SCARS Online Safety Password Log Book

SCARS PEARL BOOK – The SCARS Online Safety Password Log Book

AN ONLINE SAFETY TOOL FROM SCARS HELPS YOU TO STAY SAFE ONLINE!

We all know that we need to create and maintain stronger & safer passwords, but how can anyone possibly manage them? Actually, the process is not that hard with the right tools. Every only user needs to have two items: 1) a Password Manager App (such as LastPass or TrueKey), and 2) a master password log book!

But if you have a password manager app why do you need a logbook too? Because what if you are unable to access your password manager? What do you do then? The truth is that all software can be unavailable at times, or what do you do if you forget the password to your password manager? The answer is to have a backup logbook where you store all of your passwords in an organized way.

The SCARS PEARL BOOK helps to remind you about how to create strong passwords and how to keep them safe, but most importantly organizes all of your passwords in one place by accounts wor websites, making them easy to maintain and find when you need them.

Get it here

Find Real Scammer & Fake Stolen Photos On ScamsONLINE.org
The SCARS Scammer Photo Gallery Website
Click Here To Donate To SCARS

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SCARS the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Incorporated

By the SCARS™ Editorial Team
Society of Citizens Against Relationship ScamsSCARS SCARS - Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. A government registered crime victims' assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. SCARS supports the victims of scams worldwide and through its partners in more than 60 countries around the world. Incorporated in 2015, its team has 30 years of continuous experience educating and supporting scam victims. Visit www.AgainstScams.org to learn more about SCARS. Inc.

A Worldwide Crime Victims Assistance & Crime Prevention Nonprofit Organization Headquartered In Miami Florida USA & Monterrey NL Mexico, with Partners In More Than 60 Countries
To Learn More, Volunteer, or Donate Visit: www.AgainstScams.org
Contact Us: Contact@AgainstScams.org

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