CHARLESTON — Attorney General Patrick Morrisey today warned students to be careful when responding to unsolicited text messages from unknown telephone numbers.
The scam, which is similar to the “one-ring” scam our Office alerted consumers to earlier this year, targets young adults by misleading them to respond to text messages from an unknown phone number. The text messages may include a link that prompts the consumer to open a web site that asks for personal and financial information, or the message may simply prompt the consumer to call the number listed. By calling the unknown phone number, consumers may receive a hidden fee for placing the call, or they may end up connecting with a person who uses high-pressure tactics to gather their banking information.
“This is another example of a scam that not only targets young adults who are always around their phone, but also targets curious consumers wondering who is contacting them,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “While students are getting adjusted to a new school year, they may think a message they have received is from a new classmate, only to find a scammer on the other end of the line.”
Scammers appear to be targeting numbers at random, and are typically able to reach millions of customers with computer programs that send bulk messages using a few simple keystrokes.
Here are a few things to keep in mind if you receive an unsolicited text message:
- Delete it immediately, especially if the message asks you to reply with a code or with personal information. A legitimate company will never send you a text message or an e-mail to ask you for your credit card numbers, bank account information, or Social Security number.
- Don’t be tempted to click on any links in the text message. These links can take you to spoof sites that can look authentic, but are designed to steal your personal information.
- Review your cell phone bill for any suspicious, unauthorized charges and immediately report them to your carrier.
“Our Office wants students to be able to focus on their education during the start of the school year and not be worried about falling victim to a scam,” Morrisey said.
If you believe you have been the victim of one of a text message scam, contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808 or visit the Office online at www.ago.wv.gov.