Better Business Bureau: Don’t Answer Suspicious Text Messages

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) — According to a 2021 data breach report conducted by Verizon, thirty-six percent of data breaches are caused by phishing scams.

Phishing traditionally relies on email to trick a user into providing a scammer with information, but it can also be done via text message.

And, in some cases, little action is required of the recipient for the scammer to obtain useful information.

“If someone sends you a text message that has a link, just by visiting a website that you’re not familiar with could unleash spyware or malware into your phone or your computer without your awareness,” said Michele Mason, President of the Better Business Bureau of Chattanooga.

Some spam messages appear innocuous while others may contain your name to convince you of its authenticity.

The legality of spam text messages varies depending on the goal of the sender, but Mason says its best not to interact with the messages at all.

“There are laws that govern communications with you, and if you opt out of someone contacting you, the sender should always make sure they follow through with that, and that would allow you to go ahead and file complaints. In realty, whenever you get a message, we actually discourage people from responding, because part of it could be just them making money off of the fact that they know that they have a live person on the other end, and they just sell your information to someone else,” said Mason.

Scammers will sometimes disguise themselves as important institutions such as banks.

Mason encourages anyone who receives a message from a financial institution to look up their phone number and call them directly before interacting with a suspicious message.

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