FTC Exposes Top 5 Text Message Scams Lurking in Your Phone

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A new analysis from the Federal Trade Commission shows that bogus bank fraud warnings were the most common form of text message scam reported to the agency, and that many of the most common text scams impersonate well-known businesses.

In a newly issued data spotlight, the FTC ranks the top five types of text message scam reported in 2022, with examples of each showing the ways that scammers craft messages designed to deceive consumers. Consumers reported losing $330 million to text message scams in 2022, more than doubling what was reported in 2021.

The analysis looked at a random sample of 1,000 text messages reported to the FTC, finding that fake bank security messages, often supposedly from large banks like Bank of America and Wells Fargo, were the most common type. These texts are designed to create a sense of urgency, often by asking people to verify a large transaction they did not make. Those who respond are connected to a fake bank representative. Reports of texts impersonating banks have increased nearly twentyfold since 2019.

After bank impersonation, the most frequently reported text scams were: messages claiming to offer a free gift, often from a cell phone carrier or retailer; fake claims of package delivery issues from the USPS, UPS, or FedEx; phony job offers for things like mystery shopping and car wrapping; and bogus Amazon security alerts.

The spotlight includes tips for consumers on how to spot text message scams and how to report the bogus text messages to their cell phone companies, device makers, and to the FTC.

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