PSA: Beware wireless carrier scam text offering gifts and rewards


Smartphones are everywhere these days. Even though devices like the iPhone and Pixel are high-priced, the availability of budget and mid-range smartphones has put one into nearly every hand. While that is impressive, it also means crooks are looking to take advantage of this. One way they take advantage is by using phishing methods, including the scam text.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

A scam text is a phishing attempt to get a target to click on a link to access that target’s personal information or even the device itself. It used to be that the email scam was the prevalent method for scammers to work; now, it’s both email and scam text methods.

There are many different scams sent via text, but an incredibly effective one is the scam text from your wireless carrier. These scam texts are generally sent out at the beginning of the month, as many people pay their wireless bill in the first week of the month.

Some of these texts will say the following:

  • AT&T Free Msg: Sorry for the coverage issues on October 31st, Fredo; here’s a gift for the inconvenience.
  • Verizon Free Msg: Sorry for the signal issues on January 12th, Sonny; claim your free credits here.
  • T-mobile Free Msg: Your May bill has been processed. Thanks, Michael! Here’s a little something for you.
example of a scam text

What makes the scam text convincing is the use of the person’s name. These texts will also include a URL for you to click, don’t do it. The scammers most likely have a list of phone numbers with associated names. Recently, T-Mobile experienced a data breach where scammers accessed users’ phone numbers and names. These types of data breaches are where scammers get your data.

Many wireless carriers offer reward programs, but those are done through their apps, and they rarely send texts with a URL to click. One giveaway is the phone number the text originates from; most wireless carriers do not use a regular phone number. Texts from wireless carriers usually come in a short form number with fewer digits than a phone number. Another giveaway is the URL provided; if it looks strange, it probably is.

You should delete the scam text and make sure never to click any links in the text. You could also report the text to your wireless carrier; you would need to look for your carrier’s fraud report tool on their website.

Have you gotten these scam texts before? Please share your thoughts on any of the social media pages listed below. You can also comment on our MeWe page by joining the MeWe social network.

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