Paying your bills on time is something that most of us do without even thinking about it. It is so part of our everyday life that we don’t expect to be rewarded for it. Sure, there could be some occasions where companies might incentivize you for paying early, but that doesn’t happen often.
You should immediately be suspicious when you receive a text message thanking you for paying your phone bill. This type of scam has popped up before, but it is so lucrative for criminals that it keeps coming back.
Read on for the latest trick that scammers use to steal money and spread malware.
Here’s the backstory
You might already be familiar with the text message scam that claims to have a gift for you after paying that month’s mobile phone bill. It has been around for some time, and just last month, we wrote about a similar problem with Verizon customers.
However, in that scam, the messages seemingly came from the victim’s phone number. But to make matters even worse, criminals are now using unblockable messages in group chats.
Where spammers usually send one message to one victim, the new tactic involves adding a bunch of random numbers into a group chat and sending the spam text to them all.
The message’s wording is similar to what we saw last month. But this version claims that your T-Mobile bill is paid, and there is a gift waiting for you. The message includes a link that the scammers hope you will click on.
The problem is the link leads to a malicious site that asks for your account credentials. Thieves are trying to steal passwords for your mobile phone account and your bank account. In some cases, the link leads to a site that will infect your device with malware.
The unblockable part of spam texts is on the carrier’s side. According to Bleeping Computer, a carrier can’t stop the messages when sent in bulk to group chats.
What you can do about it
It’s easy to feel like your privacy has been invaded when you are added to a random group chat, only to be spammed with fake messages and malicious links. You might even want to give the sender a piece of your mind, but that is one of the worst things you can do.
Here are some tips on how to stay safe:
- Never reply to any spam text messages or emails. This only confirms that your mobile number or email address is active to the attackers.
- Mute or leave the group and delete the text thread.
- Never click on links in spam messages or emails. They lead to malicious websites that steal your money or personal information.
- You should always forward spam messages to 7726 so that your carrier knows new tactics, spam numbers or links.