What Happens if You Open a Scam Text Message?

what happens if you open a scam text message

If you have a smartphone, it probably happens that you receive unwanted text messages from unknown senders almost on a daily basis. So what happens if you open a scam text message? If you ever tap the link in that message, it’ll very likely to try to install malware like a virus, spyware, or ransomware on your mobile device. 

Once the malware is installed in your smartphone, it has the ability to obtain sensitive information (like your credit/debit card). These programs are also set to send out other phishing messages to your contacts and can even give remote access to your device to cyber-criminal.

It’s also pretty usual that the link in a scam text message also leads to a fake website; usually created to steal your personal information or even take money from you. Those fake sites can also infect your device with malware and slow its performance down, as they take up space on your phone’s memory.

what happens if you open a scam text message

What Can I Do If I Open a Scam Text Message?

The obvious answer would be just not to click on unsolicited, unknown text messages. If you spot one of those, you should delete it or even report it as junk to your carrier and/or OS allows you to. 

If by any chance you open the scam text message and click on it, don’t panic and follow these steps:

  1. Close the Webpage Right Away

Doing this can prevent the fake website from doing any further damage. It can also avoid you touching anything else accidentally. Then, delete the message with the link and block the sender. Most smartphones also allow you to report those text messages as junk or spam.

You can also copy the scam SMS message and forward it to 7726 (SPAM). That allows cell phone carriers to identify these scam senders and limit the delivery of their messages.

  1. Disconnect your Phone From the Internet

Immediately disconnect your phone’s WIFI and internet data. That can stop scammers getting any sensitive  information from you, and will also prevent malware from infecting other devices in the network. If you can’t do this fast enough, simply disconnecting your router would help (radical, but effective solution).

  1. Reset your Device’s Password

No matter how fast you act, you never know if the attacker got your device’s password; so this is a good time to reset it. If you entered any financial information like your credit card on the spam website, contact your bank to secure your account.

  1. Update your OS

It is also difficult to tell if a malware was installed in your program until it’s too late. So updating your device’s OS is definitely a good protective measure. These updates are actually made, mostly, to patch vulnerabilities in your phone. It’s a good practice to regularly update your phone’s OS regularly; even if you were not attacked.

  1. Do a Factory Reset

We added this tip to the last as we consider it a last resort for extreme cases. By doing a factory reset, you should erase the virus and any infected files in your device; but you also lose all your other data. This is like that because you’re reverting your phone to the original state when you purchased it. 

Keep in mind that although most viruses don’t survive a factory reset, that doesn’t necessarily solve the problem. There are a few that can still get through, although those are pretty rare.

Unsolicited Text Messages Are Illegal 

There are several SMS regulations that protect users from unwanted, scam SMS messages. One of the main things you need to know is that you need to voluntarily opt in to receive promotional text messages. If you’ve never solicited those texts, don’t open them and report them immediately. 

Scammers are also very smart and try to confuse people in order to make them bite the bait. It’s very frequent for them to impersonate as the Amazon delivery you’re waiting for; or even use names, logos and images from any other brand. 

So if you, for example, made an order and received a strange notification about it, go to the corresponding app or website to corroborate; never trust a text notification right away. Especially if it has a link.