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Avoid Text Message SMS Scam Guide

Updated on December 25, 2014

What is a fraudulent text message?

What is described as a text message that is fraudulent in nature?

A SMS scam is generally defined as a text message whose sole intention is dupe the recipient financially (in different forms) This must not be confused with SMS phising whose purpose is to acquire any kind of personal or sensitive information from the targeted victim.

Though the two types of fraudulent text message defined above are different, the steps on how to avoid being victimized are relatively the same.

Steps and tips on how to spot a SMS scam?

Spotting a received SMS scam is quite easy once you are already aware of the MO (modus operandi) process.

This kind of technique is actually old but utilizes current technology. A good example would be using keywods from the mobile carrier’s promos and services.

Anyway, listed below are

  • Existing SMS scam types
  • How to spot one
  • Tips on how to avoid being victimized

Relative or family member has been involved in an accident –

One of the most common types of text message scam involves a relative or family member that has been on an accident. This would obviously alarm anyone – especially older folks who have love ones working or located overseas.

The sender is usually from an unknown person claiming that he / she is an officemate or simply someone who is just being concerned and helpful.

The message normally includes financial assistance to be deposited quickly to pay or as deposit for hospital bills.

Things to do when receiving this kind of text fraud

Don’t do things on a whim. It is understandable to panic but don’t do anything drastic. Remember, the news is coming from an unknown sender / number.

The best thing to do is to try to contact the particular relative directly – either through by mobile phone, landline, office phone, even social media status. Nowadays, a person who has been in a serious accident, friends would post it on FB or send a PM to immediate relatives to alert them.

The photo on the right is a good example of a text message scam. It is a screenshot of a text message that yours truly received last 11/27/14.

As can be seen on the message, it is advising me to send a certain amount (300) to cancel charges as apparently, I have sent out a MMS.

The message is expertly crafted / worded and quite believable – but the only catch is I did am not using MMS. It even asked the question “Not using MMS?”

So why would I cancel a service that I am not using and even send out 300 worth of credits to another mobile number?

That is actually the one that that gave away the scam – my cellphone provider would never use a prepaid number to send out an official text message (let alone ask money and send it to another prepaid number)

Congratulations! You are chosen or is a winner!

This is another proliferating text scam. The message claims that you have been chosen (by a charity or government agency) or may have won something from a private company.

You are then advised to call a number wherein the person claiming to be an attorney, company officer, representative (or any other similar position) would tell you instructions on how to claim the prize.

This person usually ends the conversation by asking you to deposit or send a certain amount of money for processing fees or any other type of fees.

The person is eloquent and sound so believable which is why some are duped. And if you ask many questions to verify the validity of the promo, they will raise their voice and get angry.

Things to do when receiving the kind of SMS scam above

This one is actually easy as to spot. Remember, if you did not join any raffle or contest, then how did you win something?

Of course some people are more gullible saying that it is possible that they must have been randomly chosen. They are so convinced that they are tempted to call the indicated number.

However, before doing so, do consider the following things:

  • There are millions of mobile phone users in the country. It is highly impossible for any company (private, public, or governmental) to randomly choose a winner based on a person’s cellphone number. Just think about it, where would they get the funds or who will fund it?
  • Any legitimate promo handles all kind of processing fees and has a leeway period for winners to claim their prize. If the person is rushing you to make any kind of deposit, this should prompt you to think otherwise about the validity of the said message promo.
  • Do some research about the message. There is a chance that someone has received the same message and may have tweet about it. If this happens, then just think how many lucky winners there must be.
  • If you are in the Philippines and is a Globe user, you could report it here: http://www.globe.com.ph/stopspam

Text Scam - Different Words but Same Rubbish

There are still many forms of SMS scam messages. This ranges from abusing keywords that may include but not limited to:

  • Reduction in monthly subscription fees
  • Incorrectly sending a MMS
  • A roaming relative asking for load
  • Accidentally sharing a load

Whichever it may be, the end result is the same – the sender is trying to dupe or trick the targeted recipient out of some form of money.

Think first, be vigilant, and of course – don’t be fooled!

PS: If you have been a victim or knows a text message fraud not discussed here, please feel free to share in the comment section. Awareness and knowledge is a good tool to combat fraud and to avoid being a victim.

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