How crooks use texts to get your money, identity, or both.

May 24, 2023, 10:23 PM | Updated: 10:28 pm

Your gut instinct might be to send a reply message saying something to the effect that they have the wrong number.

But dont do it!

That innocuous-looking text might have come from a scammer.

They have a bag of tricks that’s a mile long,” said cybersecurity expert Chris Drake, chief technology officer for telecommunications company, iconectiv.

Drake warned that when replying to a wrong number text, you are letting the sender know that you are a nice, helpful person. And maybe, you are a sucker.

“They follow up trying to get a conversation going like, ‘Okay, well, how are you doing? Sorry to interrupt you, but how do you do?’ And, they get very friendly,” Drake said.

That friendliness can blossom into a romance scam. According to the Federal Trade Commission, nearly 70,000 people reported getting caught up in a romance scam. Their combined losses hit a staggering $1.3 billion. Just the median reported loss alone comes in at $4,400 per victim.

I have reported on several Utahns who say the crook worked them over for months until they had developed trust before letting their guard down. Dating apps and social media have been a hotbed for these scammers to lure people looking for companionship, but Drake warned not to overlook the potential to be scammed by what seems to be a simple wrong number mistake.

“If you start to engage them, just starting with, ‘You have the wrong number,’ but if you keep going, then you’re going to be the victim of an actual fraud attack,” he said. “It’s that simple.”

It may feel rude but if you get a message from someone you don’t know, just delete it.

If you feel compelled to reply, whatever you do, don’t even share so much as your name.


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How crooks use texts to get your money, identity, or both.