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8 Spam Text Message Examples (& How to Identify Them Quickly)

Jan 13, 2022

Have you ever received a text message from a company or person you recognized, but it didn’t seem quite “right”? Spam text messages (also known as phishing texts or “smishing” – SMS phishing) trick consumers into providing personal data to criminals who pose as a familiar business, organization or family member.

Criminals use phishing text messages to attain usernames and passwords, social security numbers, credit card numbers and PINs to commit fraud or identity theft. Other attacks focus on duping people into downloading viruses or malware by clicking seemingly innocent links.

If you don’t think you’d ever fall for a phishing text scam, think again. SMS phishing texts now outnumber scam phone calls, with losses amounting to an estimated $101 million for American consumers in 2021. 

Today we’ll share eight common spam text message examples and share some tips for fighting back against SMS phishing scams.

8 Spam Text Message Examples

There seem to be an endless amount of spam text schemes. Check out these phishing text examples so you know what red flags to look out for in your inbox.

1. You've Won!

Winning an unexpected prize sounds great in theory. However, being notified of winning a contest you didn’t enter is a dead giveaway of a phishing text. If you’re not sure whether an offer is authentic, contact the business directly to verify.

Winning a prize spam text message example

2. The IRS is Trying to Contact You

Government agencies like the IRS will not contact you via email, phone or text message. If any legitimate government agency needs to contact you, they will usually do so via mail or certified letter.

IRS spam text message example

3. You Have a Refund Coming

Notifications involving money owed to you are enticing, aren’t they? “Our records show that you overpaid for (a product or service). Kindly supply your bank routing and account number to receive your refund.” Don’t fall for it.

Refund spam text message example

4. Verify Your Bank Account

Scams hiding under the guise of financial institutions like Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Chase have famously allowed scammers to steal tons of personal banking information from customers. 

Banks will only attempt to verify your identity if you’ve had recent transactions with them, like opening a new account. So if you get a random verification text from your bank, it’s probably fake.

Account verification spam text message example

5. You Have a Package Delivery

With deliveries from Amazon and FedEx so commonplace now, a text message regarding a package or order would be easy to overlook. While shippers do send legitimate shipping update texts, they’ll never ask for personal information or money to complete a delivery.

Package delivery spam text message example

6. Verify Your Apple iCloud ID

Any text that attempts to verify your Apple ID or another technology account is suspicious. If you suspect your account is compromised, contact the company directly and change your passwords immediately.

iCloud spam text message example

7. Bitcoin, Anyone?

You should treat any offer of “free” bitcoin the same as any other offer of free money – with high scrutiny. Scammers often use bitcoin as currency in blackmail scams that demand payment for withholding personal details the scammer claims to have about you.

Bitcoin spam text message example

8. A Family Member Needs Help

One of the most disturbing spam text messages leads you to believe that a family member is in trouble and needs immediate financial help. The sender tries to convince you that wiring money is necessary to prevent a financial or medical emergency – or that a loved one is involved in a kidnapping situation. 

Be cautious and contact the family member directly before proceeding. If there is a genuine emergency, it’s best to reach out to appropriate authorities before sending financial aid.

Family emergency spam text message example__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

DID YOU KNOW?

Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), businesses may not send messages to you without your permission. Even if you have a long-standing relationship with a legitimate company, they cannot text you if you haven’t granted express written consent.  

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4 Ways to Identify a Spam Text Message Quickly

Many spam messages are easy to spot; however, hackers who send phishing messages have refined their techniques over time, making them extremely convincing. For that reason, understanding how to identify a fake text message requires continuous learning. 

Be on the lookout for the following types of spam text messages:

  1. Is the message suspicious? Is the sender familiar (like Amazon or Apple – the most imitated brand in all phishing scams), but the text is poorly written or full of typos? It may try to direct you to a spoofed website that looks legitimate but isn’t.
  2. Is the message urgent? Is the sender telling you something is wrong with your account or payment method and demanding immediate action? Using urgency is a sure-fire way to prompt people to act without thinking.
  3. Is the message too good to be true? Are they offering gift cards, discount codes or prizes for responding with your personal information?
  4. Is the message impersonal? Be wary of texts starting with a generic “Hello” instead of addressing you by name.

How to Handle a Spam Text Message

If you think you’ve received a phishing text, what should you do? Here are some best practices to help you handle spam texts appropriately.

Read How to Report a Spam Text: 4 Simple Steps

Bottom line: Would you give even your best friend your personal financial information or access to your passwords? If not, why would you give them to a stranger? Use your best judgment and exercise caution before responding to requests for information.  

Avoid Sending "Phishy" Text Messages With Textedly

People are increasingly aware of phishing text message scams. If you’re a business owner or marketer, your challenge is to ensure your SMS marketing campaigns look professional

Textedly can help your business design successful, creative SMS campaigns that inspire trust and confidence rather than get marked as spam. Textedly provides simple SMS solutions that are easy to set up, so you can start messaging your customers right away. 

Sign up for a free Textedly trial today!