Jul 11, 2022
Have you ever received a strange text message from an unknown phone number? Chances are you’ve received a scam text, which is a tactic that cybercriminals are using more and more.
Teltech, a telecom and mobile app developer based in New York City, estimated that there were approximately 11.94 billion scam texts sent in the United States in May 2022. Teltech is the creator of RoboKiller, a third-party app that claims to prevent 99% of spam calls and texts for people in the US and Canada.
Blade Technologies, Inc. is a professional IT company with over 15 years of experience in cybersecurity and managed IT services. Scott Schaffer, Blade Technologies, Inc. Chief Information Security Officer, recently was featured in a Spectrum News article about preventing scam texts.
Continue reading to learn more about the dangers of scam texts and how you can stay safe while using your phone.
Who’s Sending Scam Texts
Scam text messages are typically sent from unknown phone numbers, which can make you curious enough to interact with the message. This lets scammers gain access into your digital life by learning key information about you and passwords.
Once the cybercriminal has gained your personal information, they then sell your information to other criminals on the dark web. The dark web is a part of the internet that you need special software to access and offers users complete anonymity. On the dark web are many marketplaces known for selling illegal items or fraudulent information to users around the world. This means one scam text message can lead to you being victimized multiple times.
Why You’re Getting Spam Texts: What Cybercriminals Want from You
Your personal information is like gold to hackers, who will use this information to gain access to all your important accounts or to open new fraudulent accounts in your name.
Personal information can also be sold to other cybercriminals. This means you can be targeted by more than one hacker at a time.
Access to Install Malware
Did you know that hackers can get into your phone just by you opening a text? Cybercriminals can gain access to install SMS malware, which can make the attack more severe.
Once the SMS malware is installed, it will work to access or change personal information. It can also affect the performance of your mobile device.
Some scam text messages may try to take advantage of providing text commands in the spam message. They may send spam messages that contain instructions on how to “opt-out” of receiving the messages. This is typically done by replying to a command to the message, such as "STOP.”
Although it may seem like responding to the message is your way to freedom, a response may actually make things worse. By replying to the text message, you’re confirming that the phone number belongs to someone. Cybercriminals will then sell your phone number to other criminals, which puts you at risk for receiving more scam text messages.
How to Stop Getting Spam Texts
Download Spam Blocking Apps
There are many spam text and call blocking apps available for mobile devices. These applications can screen your calls and text messages before you receive them, decreasing your risk of becoming a target. Cybercriminals may become deterred from targeting you if they know you’re using a blocking application.
Some cell phone carriers even offer spam protection, which analyzes abnormal call patterns to identify robocallers. Talk to your provider to learn more about what your carrier is doing to block unwanted calls and stop spam texts.
Filter Unknown Senders from Your Messages App
One way to keep yourself from opening text messages is by filtering your messages by unknown senders. Unknown senders are phone numbers that not found in your contact list. This can be an effective strategy to prevent spammers from sneaking into your inbox.
However, it may cause you to accidentally exclude legitimate numbers attempting to contact you. Filtering unknown senders may cause you to miss important texts, such as text from your DoorDash driver.
To find out how to do this, search for “filter messages” in your messages app. You can also contact or research your phone’s model for more information.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Scam Texts
As we previously mentioned, sometimes these messages may have instructions on how to stop the texts. This can be messages like “Reply with STOP to stop receiving these messages.” Don’t fall for it.
A reply confirms that your number is real. Once you've taken the bait, these criminals can then sell your number to other cybercriminals. This can increase the number of scam texts you receive from hackers located around the globe. This puts you more at risk for exposing your personal information.
Do Think Before You React
As Schaffer mentioned in his Spectrum News appearance, cybercriminals are wanting to cause a reaction from you. They are wanting to send you a message that makes you react without thinking. This can be an “urgent” text message from a hacker posing to be your bank or credit card company.
Don’t Fall for Fake Offers
It turns out that most offers that seem too good to be true usually are. Spam texts often contain offers that are urgent or require a quick response to receive the deal.
Falling for these offers increases the risk of your personal information becoming available to cybercriminals. Next time you receive a “today only” offer, think before you buy.
Don’t Click Links
Some spam messages contain links that appear harmless at first glance. However, these links are dangerous and should not be clicked.
Cybercriminals use links in text messages to download malware or steal personal information from your device.
Do Report the Text
Report any suspicious or unwanted phone calls or text messages to your provider. This can help reduce the number of spam text messages and phone calls you receive.
Report suspicious text messages to your mobile provider by texting 7726, a number dedicated to cracking down on spam messages. You can also report the suspicious text to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Do Block the Number
Prevent unwanted scam texts by blocking the sender’s number. This will prevent the number from contacting you and possibly deter the cybercriminal from sending you more messages in the future.
Other Ways You Can Stay Safe
Use Multi-Factor Authentication
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a great way to keep your information safe while online. This is a security feature that many sites use to verify your identity before allowing you to log in. Sites using MFA will ask you to log in with your password, then confirm your identity by entering a code.
This code is typically sent to an email or phone number. Some even use fingerprint scanning or facial recognition software, making it difficult for someone else to gain access.
Accounts with MFA may alert you of irregular account activity, such as login attempts in a different city or county.
Keep Your Credit Card Information Private
Some browsers may ask you to save your credit card information for future purchases. This feature sounds great at first but may put you at a higher risk of having your credit card information stolen. Instead of saving your financial information in your browser, try using Apple Pay or Google Pay. These apps are safer than a browser and do not give your card information to the merchant.
Update Your Phone
Cell phone manufacturers will release software updates to improve the performance and security of your mobile device. Make sure to keep your phone operating on the latest version. Outdated software can have compromised security and privacy settings.
Stay Safe from Cybercriminals with Blade Cybersecurity
Keeping your business safe from cybercriminals can be hard to do on your own, especially if they’ve already gained access. Secure your information by deploying a cyber security solution from the IT professionals at Blade Technologies, Inc in St. Louis, MO.
Blade will keep your business secure from cyber security threats by monitoring and testing your IT environment for potential weaknesses. We’ll help keep your business safe from cyber threats, so you can focus on what matters most: expanding your business.
Learn more about our skilled cybersecurity solutions.
CyberSecurity Solutions Contact Us