Text Message Scams Hitting Boston Businesses

Key Points:

  • When you receive a text message with only one word, please don’t open it!
  • Sometimes a text greeting is not what you think it is until it’s too late.
  • Now that you know the latest text message scam, do you recognize these?
  • To control phishing text scams, follow these steps for additional protection.
  • Report all smishing messages to your phone carrier and these authorities.

Recently we’ve seen a massive surge in text message scams targeting businesses and organizations in Boston. These messages appear to be from vendors, customers, or unknown numbers. When opened, there’s a demand for payment or urgently needing information.

Cybercriminals are so ruthless they sent us an IT company a message with the word “hello” in the text. If you’re not careful and know what to look for, the person or machine on the other end is ready to scam you when you reply. In the video, Michael shows you what to do safely.

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Warning: “Hello” Text Messages Might Be A Phishing Scam!

Scammers have found a new way to target an IOS or Android phone user into opening their text message. It begins when the victim receives a text that simply reads, “Hello!” That deceptive approach makes the phone user think someone they know just texted them and opened it.

The response starts as a series of questions or demands the scammer wants the phone user to answer or do. Not recognizing the phone number, the recipient usually replies with “Who’s This???” What happens next is nothing short of annoying or malicious.

These phishing texts, a.k.a. smishing, are a scam artist’s way to trick and steal from the user. Suppose the victim innocently continues responding back and forth. In that case, the phone user eventually gives away personal information or pays for something they did not owe.

Recognize Any Of These Phishing Text Message Scams?

So, the latest text message phishing scam begins with one word or short phrase; “Hi,” “Hello,” or “How Are You?” And usually, the phone number is unknown or not saved in the IOS or Android phone’s contacts. If you did what Michael suggested in our video, you deleted the messages.

Besides these red flag messages, we’re almost positive you’ve also received other phishing text messages in the past. If you have and didn’t know it was a scam, here are some of the top scams many Boston businesses and organizations still receive:

  • You’ve Won!
  • The IRS is Trying to Contact You
  • You Have a Refund Coming
  • Verify Your Bank Account
  • You Have a Package Delivery
  • Verify Your Apple iCloud ID
  • A Family Member Needs Help
  • Reactivate Your Account
  • You Have a New Billing Statement

Here’s How To Control Phishing Spam Text Messages

You’ve just received a message and don’t recognize the number. The first step is don’t respond. It is the safest way to protect yourself from a spammer. If you respond, the scam artist knows the number is active and usually sends more messages.

Next, permanently block the number on your phone, especially if you don’t recognize it. That prevents further contact with the criminal. Depending on your phone, use your carrier’s spam filtering tools and install third-party apps that block spam texts.

Finally, never click links inside a text message you received from an unknown or unsolicited text message. Clicking on those links may infect your IOS or Android phone with destructive malware. Remember, you’ll remain safe by staying alert and up to date on text message scams.

Report All Smishing Text Messages To The Authorities

Always report spam text messages to your cellular provider. Depending on your provider, copy and paste that message you received into a new text message. When you send it, please send it to SPAM (7726). The response will ask for the spam number you received. Reply with that number, and you’re finished.

We at Radius Executive IT Solutions also recommend reporting the phishing text message to these two federal agencies; the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission. Here are those links:

Federal Trade Commission: https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/

Federal Communications Commission: https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov/hc/en-us

For more information about phishing text message scams, Radius Executive IT Solutions is the source you can turn to for IOS and Android protection. We also provide co-managed IT services and support for Boston and New England organizations. Contact us today to schedule a no-obligation review, or call (978) 528-0110.

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