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Consumers in the US lost $330 million to text scams in 2022, FTC says


June 09, 2023

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Consumers in the US lost $330 million to text scams in 2022, FTC says

Consumers have lost a whopping $330 million to SMS scams in 2022, according to the Federal Trade Commission’s latest report.

The analysis shows that financial losses more than doubled from the previous year, with attackers focused on taking advantage of users’ carelessness and increased usage of mobile phones to shop, bank or even work.

“Scammers use the speed of text communication to their advantage: they hope you won’t slow down and think over what’s in the message,” the FTC said. “Some messages promise a good thinga gift, a package, or even a job. Others try to make you panic, thinking someone’s in your accounts. These are all lies and ways to take your money and personal information.”

A screening of a random sample of 1,000 bogus text messages has found that most fraudulent correspondence sought to impersonate popular businesses.

Below you can find the top three text scams, according to the agency:

1.     Fraudulent texts impersonating financial institutions and banks alerting recipients of fraud alerts.

“Wells Fargo Bank Fraud Alert: Did you attempt a purchase at Walmart for $1,263.89? Reply YES or NO,” one of the sample messages reads.

If a recipient replies with yes or no, they would receive a fake phone call from the bank’s alleged fraud department. Reported median losses for this type of scam were $3,000 last year, and the agency has emphasized that victims of this scam also shared sensitive information with the scammers, including their Social Security Number

2.     Freebies, bogus gifts and prizes

The FTC reports that scammers also lured victims with the promise of a gift from well-known retailers or even the cell phone company. In most of the reports, recipients were asked to click on a link and pay for the shipping fees for a fake prize they would never receive

3.     Fake package delivery scams

Next on the list are phony text messages pretending to come from a known package delivery service like FedEx, UPS or the US Postal Service. The ruse was notifying recipients that delivery of their package failed.

“If you paid a small ‘redelivery fee,’ which many people reported, that was a trick to get your credit card number,” the FTC said. “People also reported giving these scammers their personal information, including Social Security numbers.”

The agency urges consumers to be on alert and scrutinize all unexpected text messages, and never provide sensitive information such as CC numbers, SSNs or passwords.

How can Bitdefender help you protect your money and identity against SMS scams? The Scam Alert feature in Bitdefender Mobile Security monitors all incoming SMS messages and Android notifications in real time, immediately notifying you whenever a dangerous or fraudulent arrives in a message on your phone.

Check out Bitdefender security solutions to find out how you can improve your security posture and protect the digital you today!




Alina is a history buff passionate about cybersecurity and anything sci-fi, advocating Bitdefender technologies and solutions. She spends most of her time between her two feline friends and traveling.

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