Text message scams are on the rise, and it is important to be able to identify them quickly in order to protect yourself from becoming a victim. In this article, we will discuss the top 11 red flags that may indicate a scam text message. Knowing what to look out for can help you spot a scam before it’s too late. Being aware of these red flags can save you time, money, and heartache. Read on to find out the top 11 red flags of scam text messages and how you can use them to protect yourself.
Red Flag#1. You’re contacted suddenly. Scammers always contact you out of the blue.
One of the biggest red flags of a scam text message is when you receive a message from someone you don’t know or haven’t had any previous communication with. Scammers often use sudden contact to catch you off guard and make it more likely that you will respond to their message. Be wary of any unsolicited text messages and don’t respond to them unless you’re certain of their legitimacy. If in doubt, err on the side of caution and don’t engage with the sender.
Red Flag#2. The text sender has a long phone number.
Another red flag to watch out for when receiving scam text messages is a long phone number. Most legitimate text messages come from a 10-digit phone number that is easily recognizable. Scammers, on the other hand, may use a long phone number that looks unfamiliar. This is because they may be using a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) number or a disposable phone number to hide their true identity.
Therefore, it’s possible to recognize the legitimacy of a phone number from the number alone. That’s what RealCall Blocklist is doing. RealCall Blocklist is a constantly-updated number base containing millions of “risky” numbers labeled as scam-likely or scam-surely by real cases from RealCall users or FTC’s report data. Whenever a call or message arrives at the RealCall app before your screen, the comer’s phone number will be immediately identified by RealCall Blocklist so that any incoming calls or messages from suspicious numbers will be at once blocked to protect users against people’s identity theft or economic losses.
A long phone number is not necessarily a sure sign of a scam, but it should be considered with other red flags. If you receive a text from a long phone number that contains one or more of the other red flags we’ve listed, you should be cautious. In general, it’s a good idea to avoid clicking any links in the message or responding to it in any way. If you’re unsure about the legitimacy of a message, it’s best to contact the company or individual directly using a phone number or email address you know is legitimate.
Red Flag#3. The sender’s phone number is spoofed.
Scammers have a trick up their sleeves that involves “spoofing” phone numbers. This means that the scammer disguises their number to make it look like it’s coming from a legitimate source. That also refers to disguising caller ID. For example, you may receive a text message from a bank, and the phone number appears to be the bank’s actual number and the message content sounds like from the customer service. When such behaviors take place in text messages, it’s called smishing, short for SMS phishing. However, in reality, it’s the scammer trying to trick you into providing sensitive information. So, if you receive a text from a familiar source but something seems off, double-check the phone number and do some research before responding.
Red Flag#4. The text includes a link that is most likely shortened or scrambled.
Another red flag to watch out for in scam text messages is the inclusion of a link. Scammers often include links to phishing sites or malware downloads in their texts. To make it harder for recipients to identify the link’s true destination, they will often use link shorteners or scramble the URL. Be very cautious when clicking on links in text messages, especially if the message contains other red flags we’ve mentioned. It’s always better to err on the side of caution and not click on any suspicious links. Instead, you can verify the sender’s identity or check the legitimacy of the message with the supposed company or organization they claim to be representing.
Red Flag#5. It is written with a sense of urgency.
One common red flag of scam text messages is that they are written with a sense of urgency. Scammers know that by making you feel like you need to act quickly, they can increase the chances of you falling for their scams. These text messages often contain urgent messages such as “Act now!” or “Limited time offer!” that can cause you to panic and act impulsively.
If you receive a text message that is urging you to take immediate action, it’s important to take a step back and assess the situation. Ask yourself if the urgency of the message makes sense. Is it a message from a legitimate source or does it seem suspicious?
One tactic scammers use is to claim that there is an emergency or urgent situation that requires your immediate attention. They may say that your account has been compromised or that your personal information is at risk. In these cases, it’s important to not click any links or provide any personal information without first verifying the legitimacy of the message.
Remember, scammers use urgency as a tool to get you to act impulsively. Don’t fall for it. Take the time to carefully assess the situation before responding to any text message.
Red Flag#6. The text contains strange grammar or spelling mistakes.
One of the telltale signs of a scam text message is the use of poor grammar and spelling mistakes. Scammers often use language that doesn’t make sense or is poorly constructed. They may use odd phrases or slang that doesn’t match the context of the message. These errors are a red flag because legitimate businesses and organizations take the time to craft professional messages that are free of mistakes. If you receive a text message that appears to be from a reputable source but contains grammatical errors or typos, proceed with caution. It could be a sign that the message is fake and the sender is attempting to deceive you. Most people take spelling errors for granted. That’s extremely dangerous. The more cautious you are, the fewer scams you’ll suffer from.
Red Flag#7. It promises a reward or prize if you respond or click a link.
This is a classic scam text message tactic designed to lure unsuspecting victims into clicking on a link or providing personal information. The promise of a prize or reward may seem tempting, but it is essential to remain vigilant and ask yourself, “Is this too good to be true?” Scammers often use this tactic to trick people into sharing sensitive information or downloading malware onto their devices. Don’t fall for it. Instead, delete the message immediately and report it to your mobile service provider or the appropriate authorities. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Red Flag#8. The text claims to be from a company you use but wasn’t expecting to hear from you.
If you receive a text claiming to be from a company you use, but the message seems unexpected or out of the blue, proceed with CAUTION. Scammers often impersonate well-known companies or service providers to gain access to personal information or sensitive data. They may use official-looking logos and language to make their messages appear legitimate, but there are several red flags to look out for.
Firstly, check the sender’s phone number. Is it the same as the official number for the company? If not, it may be a spoofed number or a scammer using a fake identity. Secondly, consider the context of the message. Did you recently initiate contact with the company or request information from them? If not, it’s unlikely that they would be reaching out to you in this manner. Finally, look for any requests for personal information or suspicious links. Legitimate companies typically don’t ask for sensitive data over text, and they will rarely send links that lead to unverified or unsecured websites.
Red Flag#9. It claims to be from a colleague, family member, or friend but doesn’t sound like them.
One of the most common ways scammers try to trick you is by pretending to be someone you know. They may use the name and number of a colleague, family member, or friend to gain your trust and persuade you to take action. However, if you receive a text message from someone you know but it doesn’t sound like them, it could be a red flag. For example, if your friend usually uses proper grammar but the text message is filled with errors, or if your colleague never sends messages at odd hours but the text comes in late at night, you should be cautious. Scammers can use technology to spoof numbers and even imitate the writing style of someone you know, so it’s important to double-check with the person directly before taking any action. If it seems suspicious, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Red Flag#10. The sender asks you to call them back.
If you receive a text message that asks you to call the sender back, proceed with caution. Scammers often use this tactic to lure you into giving them personal information over the phone. They may claim to be from your bank, a government agency, or even a friend or family member in need. However, it’s important to verify the sender’s identity before giving out any information. Instead of calling the number provided in the text, look up the official number for the company or person and contact them directly to confirm the message’s legitimacy. Don’t fall for this red flag and protect yourself from potential scams.
Red Flag#11. The text contains requests for refunds for suspected overcharged services.
If you receive a text claiming that you have been overcharged for a service and that a refund is due to you, be very wary. Scammers often use this tactic to get you to reveal sensitive information, such as bank account or credit card details, by posing as a reputable company. If you are unsure about the authenticity of the text, contact the company directly using their official customer service channels, and do not click any links or provide any personal information until you are certain the message is legitimate. Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is! Stay safe and always be vigilant when receiving unexpected texts requesting refunds.
Fail to Remember All the Red Flags? Try a Smart Solution!
Although the red flags mentioned above are quite necessary and useful, here comes a fact making risky text messages increasingly difficult to identify that AI is being crazily used by scammers.
- AI products can be used to mimic people’s voices so that their family or friends will be more easily scammed.
- AI products can be used to design more “acceptable” content to lead potential victims to be scammed easily.
In a word, scammers are more difficult to avoid with the help of AI technology.
The only solution is, to use AI to beat AI.
This is how RealCall works on your phone: OpenAI + RealCall Blocklist.
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Powered by OpenAI, the leading AI research and deployment company, RealCall AI is capable of automatically dealing with all risky and unwanted texts behind the screen. Based on the AI language model, ChatGPT 4 can analyze and process language input to identify patterns, sentiments, and intent and sense the trivial malicious intent hidden in the text message ordinary people fail to notice. Plus, with the continuously updated risky number database developed by RealCall team and long-term users’ reports, RealCall AI is capable of accurately and quickly identifying scam-likely texts and dealing with them in users’ personalized ways.
Instead of blocking alone, RealCall AI is capable of letting pass all the important and necessary text messages that really belong to users’ demands like those from real hospitals, banks, etc. Between you and scammers is RealCall AI as a one-to-one mobile communication guardian.