Protect Yourself – New Wave of Text Scams Hitting NJ
A new wave of "phishing" text messages appears to be hitting New Jersey.
This past weekend, phones were bombarded by messages seeking to get people to correct or verify information about various accounts.
Fortunately, these messages were not especially convincing, so it was easy to spot they were a scam. Someone not paying close attention, however, could accidentally click on the link included in the text.
These bogus text messages are annoying at the least, but could also be extremely dangerous.
Consumer protection experts warn never to click on a link included in these text messages. Aside from trying to get you to give them your personal information, like bank account numbers and passwords, clicking the link could also compromise your phone and all the data it contains.
Malware, spyware, or ransomware could be installed on your phone. When your phone is connected to your home wireless network, any device on that network could be vulnerable. That includes your home computer, tablets, and even wireless security cameras and other electronics.
If you receive one of these text messages, just delete it and block the number in your phone's settings.
The Federal Trade Commission has noted an uptick in the number of text scams with many purporting to be from familiar brands names and companies.
"That unexpected text from the Postal Service (USPS), Costco, or The Home Depot telling you about an unclaimed package or a survey you can complete to claim a freebie is NOT from them," the FTC writes on its website, "it’s a scam."
The details vary, the FTC says, but the scammers are after the same thing: your money and your personal information.
If you get one of these texts, report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
In the event that you did fall for one of these scams, there and some things you can do.
Check your bank and credit accounts immediately and look for any unauthorized charges. If you sent money, it's likely gone and not recoverable.
The FTC has some additional steps you can take if you were the victim of one of these scams on their website.