The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the US communications regulator, issued a warning last week drawing attention to an increased amount of robotext scams.
“Robotext scams are on the rise and may even be passing robocalls as a tool for con artists,” the FCC warned.
Complaints of scam robotexts have steadily increased over the past few years, from around 5,700 in 2019 to 14,000 in 2020, 15,300 in 2021, and 8,500 through June 30 of this year.
However, that’s just the amount of scam texts spotted and reported by consumers. In reality, the number of SMS scams out there deployed by robotexters should be much higher.
“They may provide confusing information – as if they were texting someone else – incomplete information, or utilize other techniques to spur your curiosity and engagement,” the regulator explained. “Some scammers may be after your money, but others may simply be trying to collect personal information or confirm that a number is active for use in future scams.”
In the alert on its website, the FCC also warned that texts can be faked to mask the actual number and make it appear that the text is coming from a number you’re more likely to trust.
“Spoofers may opt for a local number, or impersonate a government agency, such as the IRS, or a company you’re familiar with. Scammers use these methods to get you to respond to a text,” added the agency in its notice.
Most of the texts reported this year are said to have been schemes to steal valuable personal or financial information from its targets, However, some recipients have also been pressured to log in to a fake version of their bank’s website to verify a purchase or unlock a frozen credit card, which results in their login credentials and credit card information being stolen by scammers.
Additionally, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has teamed up with the FCC to warn citizens about the new approach of “wrong number” text scams.
SMS phishing, also known as smishing, has been used not only by fraudsters and scammers but also by organized cybercrime rings.