Oregon Attorney General John Kroger warns Oregonians not to open unsolicited text messages. Similar to “Phishing” email scams, many of these electronic messages contain malware and viruses designed to infect your phone and steal personal information. Common examples include messages claiming you have “won” a gift card for Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Apple and other national retailers.
Example of a common text message scam:
Protect yourself from text message scams by heeding the following advice:
- Do not click on links contained in unsolicited text messages.
- Do not reply to unsolicited texts. Regardless if the text suggests you can end receipt by sending a “STOP” message, doing so only confirms the message was sent to a live phone and may result in unauthorized third party charges to your wireless statement. Learn more about third-party billing.
- Contact your cell carrier. Most providers have specific instructions to report SMS (text) SPAM, block numbers and in some cases websites.
- Register all your phones, including wireless with the Do Not Call List. Text messages sent to phones on the Do Not Call list are in violation of the law and can be reported to either the Federal Trade Commission or Federal Communications Commission.
- Discuss text scams with all members of your family who have cell phones.
- Be wary of any messages, emails, texts, voice mails, etc. that claim you’ve won a prize out of the blue. Learn more about sweepstakes and prize offers.
- Never give your credit card, Social Security or bank account numbers to claim “prizes,” sign up for free trials or cover related shipping costs.
- Check your bank, credit card AND wireless phone statements on a regular basis to detect suspicious charges.
The Oregon Department of Justice is committed to protecting the marketplace from fraud and scams. If you or someone you know has concerns about an internet retailer or purchase, call the Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline for help at 1-877-877-9392 or file a complaint online.