7 On Your Side warns about July Fourth text scams

"The scammers are sending you things," said tech expert Chris Drake. "You don't know them, and you're not expecting this."

Nina Pineda Image
Monday, July 3, 2023
July 4th text scams and how to keep from getting robbed
Scammers don't take the holiday off. In fact, experts say Independence Day is one of their favorite holidays for text scams.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- For many in the U.S., July 4th means fireworks, beaches and barbecues.

But scammers don't take the holiday off. In fact, experts say Independence Day is one of their favorite holidays for text scams.

"Everybody's going to see these scams coming," said iconectiv Chief Technology Officer Chris Drake. "There's so much being made by fraudsters. They'll never stop."

Drake, a tech security expert, says this summer's forecast is for fraud.

According to the FTC, fraudulent texts cost $330 million in losses. But that's just a fraction of the fraud.

"This is gigantic," said Drake. "Other people would say this is over $10 billion."

Fraudulent texts come in a wide variety of forms.

Some are like this seemingly legitimate message from the USPS, saying they are having trouble delivering your package due to an incorrect address.

But when you click on the link, it could infect your phone with malware or a devious cyber spyware program called a keylogger.

"Keyloggers watch you (over) the next days or weeks collecting passwords to your accounts, your bank information, your personal info," said Drake.

It's an ID thief's dream.

Fraudster's texts also promise deals on travel, like one that entices with 3 days/2 nights free hotel accommodation in an exotic location like Thailand or a local hot spot like Orlando.

Others play on your generosity, like one scam text trying to raise money for a local fire department or another asking for donations.

We saw one saying the scammer's oldest daughter passed away they need $178 to have her remains cremated.

"The scammers are sending you things," said Drake. "You don't know them, and you're not expecting this."

Then there are texts impersonating your bank, like one spoofing a real credit union.

It asks for your username and password, then credit card information; everything from the three-digit number on the back to your mother's maiden name.

Yet another scam text tells you your debit cards have been blocked and ask you to click on a link.

"You could lose your life savings - tens and tens of thousands of dollars - if they get into your bank account," said Drake.

The big takeaway here is never respond to unexpected texts. Just delete them.

If the text promises something for nothing, it's a scam.

And never, ever click on links contained in an unfamiliar or unexpected text.

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