Verizon users and other smartphone owners need to be aware of a new text message phishing scam targeting people through their own phone numbers. If you’re received a message from your own phone number, you might be wondering what you’re seeing. Don’t click on any links you see that appear to be from your phone – they’re actually phishing scams.
“Verizon is aware that bad actors are sending spam text messages to some customers which appear to come from the customers’ own number,” says a Verizon spokesperson in a recent statement. “Our team is actively working to block these messages, and we have engaged with US law enforcement to identify and stop the source of this fraudulent activity.”
The message appears to be from the user’s own phone number and purports to offer the phone’s owner a free gift. The message reads, “Free Msg: Your bill is paid for March. Thanks, here’s a little gift for you.”
The message includes an unusual shortened hyperlink that obscures the webpage on the other end. Users shouldn’t click on this link, no matter how tempting it might be to check out what this “free gift” might be. This is a phishing scam, sent to you by a criminal who wants to steal your personal information.
The link can lead you to what looks like a Verizon customer service survey and claims that the customer has won a new gadget, like an Apple Watch. The survey asks the customer to fill out a large volume of personal information, sensitive data that criminals can use to commit identity fraud.
Users might not realize they’re handing over information that criminals can use to compromise their identities. Some questions are deliberately designed to make users give up their security question answers, like their mother’s maiden name or their first pet’s name. This information seems innocuous at first, but savvy users might notice that this information could be used to reset a social media password.
Never click on any links from suspicious numbers. Your cell phone provider will never send you messages from your own number, so you should disregard any messages like this. Remember, phishing attempts are finesse attacks that prey on your tech knowledge. If you arm yourself with knowledge, criminals will be unable to trick you into handing over your sensitive information.
When you get an unusual message from a suspicious number, just discard it. You’ll be safer that way!