SMS Marketing

Can You Get Scammed by Opening a Text Message?

can you get scammed by opening a text message

Every day, our phones are constantly buzzing with notifications. Text messages are a convenient way to stay connected, but they can also be a breeding ground for scams.  This begs the question: can you get scammed by opening a text message? Can a scammer steal your information or infect your phone simply by opening a text message?

The short answer is a resounding no. Just opening a text message, even a suspicious one, won’t directly infect your device or compromise your data. However, the danger lies in what you do after you open the message.  Many scam texts, also known as “smishing” attempts, rely on tricking you into taking an action that puts you at risk.

While this blog is not legal advice, it does have some helpful best practices. Here’s how these scams work and how to protect yourself:

The Bait and the Switch: How Smishing Works

Smishing scams operate similarly to phishing emails.  Scammers craft messages designed to look legitimate, often impersonating trusted organizations like banks, delivery companies, or even government agencies. The message will typically include a sense of urgency or offer an enticing deal to lure you in.

Here are some common tactics used in smishing scams:

  • Urgency: The message creates a sense of panic by claiming your account is suspended, package delivery has an issue, or there’s a problem with your credit card.
  • Fake Rewards: The message offers a prize or discount to entice you to click on a link.
  • Fear of Missing Out: The message claims a limited-time offer or exclusive access to something desirable.

The core element of the scam is a link or phone number embedded within the message. If you click on the link, it could take you to a fake website designed to steal your personal information, such as login credentials or credit card details. Clicking the link could also download malware onto your phone, allowing the scammer to steal data or take control of your device.

Replying to the message can also be risky.  Scammers might use your reply to confirm they have a valid phone number and target you further.

Red Flags: How to Spot a Smishing Scam

Fortunately, there are telltale signs that can help you identify a smishing attempt:

  • Unfamiliar Sender: Be wary of messages from unknown numbers, especially those with nonsensical letter and number combinations.
  • Poor Grammar and Spelling: Legitimate companies typically have professional communication standards. Look out for typos, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing.
  • Generic Greetings: Companies will often address you by name. A generic greeting like “Dear Customer” is a red flag.
  • Suspicious Links: Don’t click on links within the message. If you’re unsure about the sender’s legitimacy, visit the company’s website directly by typing the web address yourself.
  • Outlandish Offers: If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Be skeptical of unbelievable discounts or prizes offered through text messages.

Staying Safe: How to Protect Yourself from Smishing

By following these simple steps, you can significantly reduce your risk of falling victim to a smishing scam:

  • Don’t Click on Links or Attachments: Never click on links or open attachments in suspicious text messages.
  • Verify Information Directly: If the message claims to be from a legitimate company, contact them directly through their official website or phone number to verify its authenticity.
  • Don’t Reply: Don’t engage with the sender by replying to the message. This confirms your phone number is active and opens you up to further messages.
  • Report the Scam: Most phone providers allow you to report spam messages. Forward the suspicious text to your carrier’s spam reporting number.
  • Update Your Software: Regularly update your phone’s operating system and security software to ensure you have the latest protection against malware.
  • Consider Anti-Spam Apps: Explore anti-spam applications that can filter out suspicious messages before they reach your inbox.

Stay Alert and Protect Yourself

By being aware of smishing tactics and exercising caution, you can safeguard yourself from falling victim to these scams. Remember, if a text message seems suspicious, it probably is. Don’t hesitate to delete the message and report it. By staying informed and vigilant, you can keep your phone and personal information safe in today’s digital world.

Additional Tips:

Talk to elderly family members or friends who might be more susceptible to falling for scams. Educate them on the red flags of smishing and how to protect themselves.

Consider using strong passwords and two-factor authentication for your online accounts to add an extra layer of security.

By following these steps, you can significantly reduce your risk of falling victim to a smishing scam and keep your personal information safe.

As an SMS marketing pioneer company, Trumpia understands the risks you, as a consumer, go through in today’s digital world. That’s why we have a zero-tolerance policy about any misleading or spammy conduct from any company using our software. We go the extra mile to make sure both our customers and their clients have a safe experience using text messaging.
For more information about text messaging and SMS regulations, call or text 1-888-707-3030.