Have you received a spam text message from your phone number in the last few days? Here’s what happens.
Verizon customers reported receiving spam text messages from their phone numbers. The wireless operator said on Tuesday that it was investigating the matter.
As posted on the Verizon community forum, the text message reads “Free Message: Your account has been paid for March. Thanks, this is a small gift for you,” followed by a link of randomly displayed characters.
“I’m not clicking on a random link,” someone wrote on the forum. “My account was paid on March 7, so I don’t think Verizon sent a message. Usually they come with VZW FREE MSG:” at the beginning anyway. “
Another user wrote that because the text came from their phone number, they were reluctant to report it using the “Report Spammer” function.
“I do not want to say whether this is possible by chance, but I also want it to be stopped,” they said.
“Verizon knows that bad actors send spam text messages to some customers that appear to come from their own numbers,” the company said in a statement. “Our team is actively working to prevent these messages, and we have contacted U.S. law enforcement to identify and stop the source of this fraud.”
Chris Welch of The Verge said the link sent him to Russia’s state-backed First Channel. Verizon told Welch that there was no indication that the activity came from Russia.
This appears to be a case of fraud described by the Federal Communications Commission as “when the caller deliberately falsifies information transmitted to the caller’s ID screen in order to conceal the identity of the caller.” Often a scammer will falsify a local number to make it look more legitimate.
What makes Verizon so unusual is that the buyer uses his phone number against them.
The safest step is to not click on any unwanted link that was sent to you unexpectedly, even if it looks like it came from someone you trust. Contact them directly to confirm that they sent the message.
Verizon customers receive spam text messages from their numbers
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