South San Francisco, Ca September 30, 2022 Submitted by International Association of Better Business Bureaus
How to spot an impersonator in your text messages
Scammers have long used social media to impersonate people you know and trust, but recently they’ve been using a new tactic: text messages with a spoofed caller ID. This scam can be hard to spot at first glance, so watch out for the warning signs.
How this scam works
You get a text message that shows up in your phone as from “Mom” (or in other variations, “Dad.”) According to the message, “Mom” is at the store, but she left her credit card at home by accident. Could you send her $150 to finish her shopping?
The request seems harmless, but don’t do it! Scammers have spoofed caller ID to appear as “Mom” or “Dad.” They are relying on the fact that many people have “Dad” or “Mom” saved in their contacts list. Scammers hope you won’t think twice (or double-check the phone number) before sending help. If you do transfer money to a bank or digital wallet account, your money will be gone for good
How to spot this scam:
- If anything about a message is unusual, consider it a red flag. If your parents never send text messages, it’s probably not them texting now. On the other hand, if they text all the time but never ask for money, you’re probably dealing with an impersonator.
- Look for a new message thread. If you text with your parents on a regular basis, you should be able to see previous messages from them. If you can’t see any of the earlier messages, it’s probably a scammer contacting you for the first time.
- Double check the sender info. Click on the sender information to make sure the name matches your parent’s real phone number.
- Read more tips! See the full BBB Scam Alert for more advice.
For more information
Read about other ways scammers use text messages in the BBB Scam Alert: That’s not your boss texting. Learn how to spot and avoid emergency scams. Find more useful advice in BBB’s tip on spotting the red flags of fake text messages.
If you’ve been the victim of a scam, report it to BBB Scam Tracker. By reporting your experience, you can help others avoid falling for the same scam.