Innocent “Wrong Number” Text Is Scamming Minnesota And Wisconsin People
It appears as an innocent text that sounds like the person got the wrong number, but they hope it lures you into a conversation, then a scam.
So here's what they do:
You get a text that says something like, Is this (insert name) hey it's Christy! We chatted on Tinder when I was in town, and I was hoping to meet up when I visit (insert relative name here) again in a week. I was wondering if you are free/
Immediately the scammer is hoping you are polite and say they have the wrong number. Someone will reply and send photos, ignoring what you said like you are the person they wanted to get ahold of. The pictures will be of a woman not wearing much in the way of clothes.
The word is starting to get out so the scammers have become smarter and changed up names and relatives and have even changed up whether they send you a male or a female picture when you answer the scam.
If you do engage, by telling them you are not the person they are looking for, it turns out to be a chatbot and it tries to trick you to sign up for a dating or adult website. You are thinking you will not do that, but they don't leave you alone and send more pictures hoping you stay engaged. They want your credit card, or to drop a virus on your phone.
Some people will open the pictures to see what has been sent and that is how they send the malware or virus. This will all be done on your phone and most people don't have protection on their phone so most scammers can hack your phone and take over your social media and look for information on your phone like credit card numbers, especially if you buy stuff with your phone.
How do you avoid it?
According to the Better Business Bureau, they say to ignore texts from strangers. Seems easy enough, but the scammers feed on the fact that you want to be polite and let that person know you are not the one they want to get ahold of. If you don't know the number or person, don't answer it, too bad if they have the wrong person.
The BBB says the first thing you should do after that is to delete it and block the number. Most of the time the number will be one you don't know or will have a link that tells you to click on the link for more info. Your friends would never do that, so you know this is not from someone you know and shouldn't follow the link.
Never share any information with anyone sending you a text. Even if it is a friend, you never know if you will get hacked, call the people you know and give them the information.
How to find more information to help protect yourself
The Better Business Bureau has a web page to help you spot red flags of a scam. They also have a page that will help you spot a scam and know how to protect yourself.