An SMS with a fake surprise offer

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Whatever you do, don’t click the link in that “too good to be true” text message you just received. Scammers now use personalized text messages sent to your cell phone to trick you into clicking the link that takes you to a scam site or phone number, according to the Better Business Bureau.

You won an AT&T award! In fact, you’re about to give the scammer a price if you click on the link because the text isn’t from AT&T at all. It actually comes from a scammer who offers a deal so that he can get your password and username, among other nefarious acts.

Screenshot of the cell. Bill Keeler / TSM

Scams like these are not exclusive to AT&T. The crooks use all kinds of well-known companies in their scam. Here are three examples from the Better Business Bureau.

  • “COVID-19 REFUND. VERIZON COMPANY donates $ 950 to all users of our Verizon service. If so, please text your Verizon “
  • “Due to the pandemic, Hulu is giving everyone a free one-year subscription to help you stay at home. Get yours here https://wibx950.com/beware-of-the-latest-scam-a-text-message-with-a-fake-surprise-offer/.
  • “AT&T … Sorry for the coverage issues … Here’s a little giveaway: https://wibx950.com/beware-of-the-latest-scam-a-text-message-with-a-fake-surprise-offer/”

The BBB says the posts are not from that company, but from an impersonator seeking to “access your accounts and even make purchases using your saved payment methods.”

How to avoid SMS scams?

How to avoid SMS scams

  • Treat messages from unknown senders with caution. If you receive a message from a number you don’t recognize, be careful. Many businesses are getting into SMS marketing, but keep in mind that consumers must sign up to receive messages. If you haven’t authorized a business to text you, it is most likely a scam.
  • Don’t click on links from strangers. Scammers often send shortened links that don’t let you see where it leads in the body of their text message. If you click on the link, you may be taken to an unsafe website or you may download malware onto your device.
  • Confirm transactions directly with the company before accepting. If you’re hoping the deal is legitimate, head over to the company’s official website to email or call to inquire. The company can let you know if the deal is real or not.
  • Install antivirus software on your computer and mobile devices. This type of scam can come from text messages or emails, so make sure all your electronic devices are protected. Antivirus software can scan for malware and alert you before opening a link to a malicious website.
  • Alert the company. This will help fight the problem. AT&T and Verizon ask consumers to forward suspicious messages to 7726 (SPAM).

BBB asks that if you have been the victim of a similar scam, report it to the office scam tracker on their website at www.bbb.org/scamtracker.

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