Right smack in the middle of a fancy schmancy dinner I received a text meant to swindle me out of money. On our way home I checked my phone and found the text, at right. I had received the Walmart text scam that’s been going around.
There were red flags all over this thing. For one, I am not a Walmart shopper. Though it was my birthday, I knew it wasn’t my lucky day as I hadn’t entered any giveaways. The biggest clue this was a scam was the number. It was a regular 10-digit number instead of the usual shortcodes used by legitimate companies.
I was just going to delete the text when my sister’s phone began vibrating.
“It’s the same text,” she said.
Remember Julia saying it was scary when she thought she was a victim of identity theft? Well, I was more annoyed than anything. I hate spam when I receive it in my inbox and now, it’s being delivered to my phone. Darn!
“Ok, let’s report it.”
This type of scam has come to be known as “Smishing” and is occurring more often. If you receive a fraudulent text, report it. It only takes a couple of minutes. Here’s what to do:
Forward the text to the shortcode 7726 (which spells “SPAM”). You’ll then receive an automated message from your wireless carrier, asking you to enter the phone number from which the spam text was sent.
This will allow mobile carriers to investigate and block senders. You can see my exchange with AT&T above. Don’t forget to follow these other six steps to keep your personal information safe.
If you have been defrauded, you may want to contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at http://www.ftc.gov, or the Consumer Protection Division of your state’s Attorney General’s office.