Scam texts are increasingly popular with scammers these days. Learn how to dodge and weave scam texts like a pro by keeping these key tips in mind.
What are scam texts?
Scam texts are a phishing method used to capture your personal or financial information (sometimes referred to as “smishing”).
The scammers will text you and attempt to impersonate a business you’re familiar with. The text may say that it’s coming from a trusted and well-known brand such as Netflix, Amazon, a bank, an internet provider, and so on. The scammers find creative ways to lure you into providing sensitive info, such as your credit card information, usually with the goal of stealing your money or your identity.
They may spark your curiosity by saying you’re owed a refund due to overpayment or you missed your parcel delivery. They may also use scare tactics such as threatening to close your accounts or arresting you if you don’t comply. Sometimes they will simply pretend that they need to verify your identity or update your payment method.
Red flags that it’s a scam text
- Claims to come from a credible organization or familiar brand
- A tone of urgency that asks you to take immediate action
- An attempt to spark your curiosity
- A threat of negative consequences or the promise of a reward
- Includes a suspicious link
- Bad grammar or formatting
How to spot scam texts like a pro
- Watch out for texts that seem to come out of the blue from a number you don’t recognize
- Always independently verify if it’s actually coming from the business it says it is (i.e. call your bank directly to confirm)
- Don’t trust texts with suspicious links and never click on them
- Delete the text so there’s no chance you will accidentally click the link
- Do not reply to any texts that you suspect may be a scam
- Never reply to anyone over text with personal, confidential, or financial information to “verify” identity
- Follow us on Facebook, where we often share real-life examples of scam-texts (like the ones above)
- Protect your loved ones by spreading the word
Learn more about scam texts and different phishing forms to watch out for by checking out Get Cyber Safe.
What to do if you fall victim to a scam text
If you feel that you may have been a victim of fraud, please contact your local police (non-emergency) as soon as possible and report it to the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre.
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About Consumer Protection BC
We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.
10 thoughts on “How to spot scam texts like a pro (with examples)”
Reporting the cops is a complete waste of time. They will claim that they do not have the resources to track down the scammers.
I know this because someone tried to scam me with a cheque written on a non existant branch of TD Bank. I was selling a sewing machine and the scammer replied to my ad.
God granted me the intelligence to see through it all.
Again I reiterate that the cops did nothing even though I kept this fish on the hook for over two weeks.
They totally are too busy. The Federal Government has cut back federal policing funding so far over the years that they don’t have the specialized plain clothes sections or the training courses necessary to investigate these crimes which take a lot of time and know how. It’s a total shame I know but police resources are thin.
My question is about travel refunds of fully paid for a cruise next April told credit for further trips but no cash refund until Dec 32/2024 yeah 2024
They cancelled the contact I would like a refund
Hi Graham, thank you for reaching out to us. We have a lot of helpful information on our website about travel refunds and the page expands on eligibility, required steps, and more. Please visit the page and if you have any questions, please contact us. Thank you!
Avoid These Common Text Scams Instead of responding to these fraudulent text messages, inform your service provider of any suspicious activity. As a reminder, report all mobile numbers used and never provide bank information or send money.
Thanks for the extra tips!
Legitimate text messages from a business tend to use natural language, proper punctuation and will likely be free of misspellings and grammatical errors. Unusual language is a sign of a text scam. It can be tricky to identify a text scam by the link itself.
If you were to receive a text from a random number asking for help, you might be inclined to send money to an unverified destination in case it would help a loved one. Family crisis text scams use this psychology to trick recipients into thinking a family member is in danger—and that they need to send money to correct the situation.
I just want to say thank you for this great website. I found a solution here on consumerprotectionbc.ca for my issue.
Legitimate businesses commonly use a URL shortener in their text messages to save on the allotted SMS character count and to track the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. A clue of a legitimate URL is by spotting the name of the URL shortening service in the URL itself, such as bit.ly or tinyurl.