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Spot and Avoid Phishing Text Scams

Have you ever received a text message telling you you’ve won a contest your don’t remember entering? Or A text message that claimed to be from the IRS asking you to verify your social security  number? It’s likely you were targeted by a text phishing scam. Older adults are common targets and this scam is growing.  Reports of text phishing scams rose 150% from 2021 to 2022.  Thankfully, vigilance and a careful eye can help protect you and your assets.  

Phishing text scams can take a few a different forms.

You may receive a text claiming you’ve won a prize, or need to confirm shipping information.  These messages include a link, asking you to click it to claim your prize or verify information. Once you click the link, fraudsters have access to your devices, saved passwords and sensitive information.

Or, you may receive a message requesting you respond with your personal and financial information, claiming to be from your financial institution, a family member, a government agency, as examples.  They may also ask you to create a one time password to help clear a problem with your account.  This is a scam–your financial institution will never contact you via phone, text or email and ask for your password or pin number. 

These scams are unnerving, but you can protect yourself and your assets! Never click on a link in a text message, and never give out personal sensitive information.  Financial institutions, government agencies and legitimate businesses do not conduct business via text. If you are questioning if a message is real, contact the organization in question via a confirmed phone number.  Do not click on a link or reply to the message.  

The National Council on Aging has more information about how to prevent phishing texts and reporting suspected fraudulent messages. Check out their article additional information: