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How To Identify A Fake Text Message


Published on October 24, 2023

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Over 58% of fake text messages were recorded in 2023, and 1 in 3 Americans got scammed by being lured into fake messages, with fewer than 35% of individuals recognising that they are potential victims of a text message scam attack. So it's like plastic, which cannot be destroyed. 

Fake text messages can result in severe repercussions, from financial fraud to identity theft. Continue reading to discover the distinctive indicators for spotting fake text messages and find out how to safeguard yourself. Additionally, explore ways to enhance your defense against fraudulent texts. 

Also read: What are the types of mobile- messaging? 

Why do you get fake text messages? 

Fake text messages are prevalent due to their large-scale distribution, allowing scammers to profit even when only a small fraction of recipients fall for their schemes. Scammers are aware that the majority of individuals can receive text messages but cannot discern fake ones. Therefore, they don't hesitate to send thousands of texts to potentially active numbers, hoping to ensnare a victim.

  • These unwanted messages may aim to extract various types of information, including:

  • personal information such as your name, address, phone number, and social security number.

  • Financial data, like credit card numbers, bank account details, and passwords

  • Login credentials for online accounts, such as email or social media profiles,

  • Personal health records encompass medical history and insurance information.

  • Geolocation data, which can be exploited to track your movements,

  • Other sensitive information can be utilised for identity theft or fraudulent activities.

How to identify a fake text message 

Even though scammers employ various forms of counterfeit text messages, there are shared indicators that can help you spot them. To distinguish a fraudulent text message, scrutinize the sender's name and contact details and closely examine the message's content. Scammers frequently fabricate claims of owed money, fictitious prizes you've supposedly won, or mysterious urgent packages you do not know.

Regardless of whether the message reaches you through an SMS text, a dedicated messaging application, or another social platform, here's a guide on recognising a fake text. 

  1. Checking the sender's information

The first thing to do when you get a text message is to see who it's from. Here are some things to be careful about when you want to tell if a message is fake:

odd numbers

Sometimes, scammers use numbers that have extra or repeating digits, like 1234567890 or 9999999999. But if the text is from a blocked number, you won't see the number at all. In that case, check the next two parts.

Alphabet senders

If you get a message from a sender with just letters and no numbers (like "AMAZON"), be cautious. Some businesses use names like that, but scammers do it too to make their messages look real.

Foreign country codes

Be careful with messages from other countries, especially if you're not expecting a message from there.

  1. Be cautious with links and attachments

When you receive a text message with links or attachments, especially from unknown senders, it's important to stay alert. Fake subscription texts or automated messages often use these links to try and get you to share your sensitive information or download harmful software.

If you get a link that seems suspicious, carefully examine the web address for any unusual or misspelled parts. You can also take a peek at the link (without clicking on it) 

to see where it leads. But the safest approach is to avoid opening links or downloading attachments from sources you can't verify.

  1. Giving random rewards

A prevalent text scam involves receiving a message that claims you've won a prize, but it requires you to take certain actions first. If you haven't recently entered any contests and the prize appears too good to be true, there's a high likelihood the message is fraudulent. This holds even if the message doesn't promise a prize but offers seemingly incredible discount deals.

As a local business owner, this underscores the importance of ensuring the legitimacy of your text message giveaways. It's crucial to make them appear as genuine as possible, as alert recipients may be wary unless they distinctly recall participating in your giveaway.

  1. Irrelevant messages

Scammers often compose generic, automated messages and distribute them to a large number of phone numbers, hoping to find a vulnerable target. For instance, receiving a notification about a package delivery you weren't expecting or an offer to buy something you aren't selling are both signals that the message is deceptive. If a text message seems unrelated to your interests or activities, it's a significant warning sign that it might be a scam.

In the fabricated text message example below, the scammer attempts to appear more credible by mentioning a particular item. However, this item is not available for sale, and the provided screenshot lacks detail. This text message should also trigger your caution because the sender is requesting personal information. Keep in mind that scammers often aim to collect your private data or money.

  1. The fake messages request immediate action 

One of the top red flags to watch out for is when a message seems very urgent and insists on your immediate response. This urgency can be seen in scenarios such as:

  • Someone you know is claiming to be in a crisis.

  • Messages pretending to be from a government agency or the IRS

  • Messages claiming to be from your bank about your bank account.

  • The reason for this urgency is to make you react hastily, often causing you to forget to question the legitimacy of the text message.

Types of fake text messages

SMS Phishing (Smishing)

Smishing, short for SMS phishing, is a form of cyber scam that employs deceptive text messages to trick individuals into revealing sensitive personal and financial information or clicking on malicious links. These messages often impersonate legitimate entities like banks or government agencies, to steal data, login credentials, or money through manipulated text conversations. Smishing leverages the immediacy and trust associated with text messages to manipulate recipients into taking actions that benefit the scammers. By imitating recognisable companies or products in their texts, scammers make their messages appear authentic to lower recipients' guards, ultimately serving the scammers' malicious goals.

Tax Refund Scams

In these scams, scammers pretend to be government agencies, like the IRS and send text messages claiming recipients are owed a tax refund. They use catchy phrases like "You're owed a tax refund" or "Claim your refund now." Recipients are typically asked to click a link or reply to the message.

Be cautious; government agencies never ask for such information or fees through unsolicited text messages. Avoid clicking on links, sharing personal data, or making payments in response to these messages to stay safe.

Beware of Scams Posing as Your Bank

Scammers often pretend to be banks like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, or Chase to steal personal banking information. Remember, genuine companies won't request your personal or financial details through text messages. If you receive an unexpected verification text from your bank, it's likely a scam.

Package Delivery Alerts

In an age of Amazon and FedEx deliveries, package-related text messages may seem routine. However, legitimate shippers never ask for personal information or money to complete a delivery. Be cautious if you receive such requests.

Apple ID Verification

Any text trying to verify your Apple ID or another tech account should raise suspicion. If you believe your account is at risk, contact the company directly and promptly change your passwords.

Job Offer Scams: Deceptive Tactics

Scammers understand the challenges of job hunting and prey on vulnerable job seekers, often desperate for employment. Deceptive job offers may trick you into paying to secure a job. They may also urge you to call a number, click on a link to accept an offer, or explore supposed job opportunities. While it might seem harmless initially, it's likely a job scam. Legitimate recruiters don't ask for money or require you to click links to secure a job. 

Protecting yourself from SMS scams: 

Do not respond: Avoid responding to fake text messages, even with a simple "STOP." Responding may confirm the activity of your phone number, leading to more unwanted messages.

Block the sender: Most smartphones allow you to block specific numbers or senders, preventing them from contacting you again.

Report the message: If you receive a suspicious text message that appears to be part of a larger scam or is particularly harmful, report it to your mobile carrier or the relevant authorities, such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States.

Use security software: Ensure your smartphone has updated security software installed to protect against malware and other potential threats.

Avoid clicking on unknown links: Never click on links from unknown sources until you've verified their authenticity.

Be cautious with personal information: Exercise restraint and caution when providing your personal information.

Verify requests: Verify any requests through official channels before taking any action.

Regularly update devices: Regularly update your devices to stay protected from evolving threats.

Clear browsing history and cache: Clear your browsing history, downloads, and cache to remove any potential malware that may have entered your phone while surfing the web.

Utilise security tools: Use tools like "" to identify, prevent, and evade SMS scams, safeguarding your personal and financial security.

Reporting SMS scams:

  • Contact your mobile carrier: Reach out to your mobile network carrier through email, text, or phone call to inform them of every scam message you receive.

  • Report to regulatory authorities: In the UK, report to Action Fraud. In the US, submit a report through the FTC Complaints page.

  • Forward scam messages to anti-fraud organisations: Forward all scam text messages to "7726," a service available for all mobile operators in the UK and the US (except Vodafone, which uses "87726"). This helps combat fraudulent messages effectively.

Securing your business against smishing with cloodot

Looking to streamline your business operations on your cell phone? Acquiring a dedicated company phone number can enhance customer communication and minimize the vulnerability to spam attacks. Moreover, maintaining a distinct business phone number adds an extra layer of security against spammers attempting to impersonate your company.

Cloodot offers solutions to help businesses simplify their customer communication, maintain organisation, and optimise business texts.

 Interested in giving it a try? Begin a free trial today.

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© Copyright 2023, All Rights Reserved by Cloodot

An all-in-one reputation marketing software to automatically generate, monitor and market reviews for your businesses.

© Copyright 2023, All Rights Reserved by Cloodot

An all-in-one reputation marketing software to automatically generate, monitor and market reviews for your businesses.

© Copyright 2023, All Rights Reserved by Cloodot