Avoiding Holiday Text Scams

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF)-With inflation and other economic pressures ongoing, shoppers will be looking to save every penny possible on holiday shopping this year.With consumers looking to cut costs however they can, scammers are not far behind in trying to be the Grinch this holiday season.

They ramp up their efforts during the Holiday season. According to a survey conducted by Norton Security in 2021, nearly a third of all consumers surveyed were scammed in some manner, losing on an average nearly $400.

An increasing method of these scams is done via texting through a process called smishing, which is messages designed to install spyware or steal other personal data through a text message. The Vice President of iConectiv (who specializes in fraud prevention for service providers, businesses and consumers), George Cray, says that, “When you talk about smishing, it’s the same concept of phishing, or things you may get in emails, and now it’s showing up as a text message.”

These messages often will try to get you to click a link or call some number. There are tricks hackers will use to derail your holidays.

Cray warns that, “What I think ends up happening is, that’s their one element that we see with these which is urgency. They try to get you when your guard is down, so whether it’s an email, or a phone call, or a text message, one of the things they try to wrap you is some urgency. Click this link, or provide this bit of information, and because you are caught off guard and aren’t expecting it, some people fall for that quickly.”

Common situations these hackers will try to present include verifying gift cards, falsely claiming delivery delays, or claiming they need more information to complete a delivery.

In any case, especially if you receive a text from a number you do not know, never provide personal information over a text that could compromise you.

Additionally, texts from trusted brands usually come from six digit phone numbers meaning they have gone through an extra level of verification versus the traditional ten digit numbers we all have.

For more tips on how to protect yourself and your family, you check out the following resources:

Better Business Bureau: https://www.bbb.org/all/spot-a-scam/how-to-spot-a-phony-text-message

Federal Trade Commission: https://consumer.ftc.gov/consumer-alerts/2022/08/dont-click-random-text-its-scam




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