Beware of Text Scams

Top Text Scams

Beware of Text Scams

Texting is cheap and easy, and scammers are counting on the ding of an incoming text being hard to ignore. In 2022, they were right to the tune of $330 million in losses to text scams, as reported to the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network, with a median reported loss of $1,000. That’s more than double the 2021 reported losses and nearly five times what people reported in 2019. In fact, reports about text scams spiked in the first six months of
the COVID-19 pandemic and have never returned to pre-pandemic levels.

But why do they 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. Some messages promise a good thing – a 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.

While there are countless varieties of text scams, the top five described below account for over 40% of randomly sampled text frauds reported in 2022. All five have one thing in common – they often work by impersonating well-known businesses.

1) Copycat bank fraud prevention alerts
Reports about texts impersonating banks are up nearly twentyfold since 2019. You might get a fake number to call about supposed suspicious activity. Or they might say to reply “yes or no” to verify a large transaction (that you didn’t make). If you reply, you’ll get a call from the (fake) fraud department. People say they thought the bank was helping them get their money back. Instead, money was transferred out of their account. This scam’s median reported loss was a whopping $3,000 last year. Worse still, many people report giving their Social Security number and other personal information to scammers, leading to possible identity theft.

2) Bogus “little gifts” that can cost you
A text about a free gift, reward, or prize may look like it came from a company you know – say, your cell phone company or a big retailer. But everything about this is fake. If you click the link and pay a small “shipping fee,” you just gave your credit card number to a scammer. Reports tell us fraudulent charges soon follow.

3) Fake package delivery problems
Expecting a package? There’s a text scam for you. Texts pretending to be from the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx, and UPS say there’s a problem with a delivery. They link to a website that looks real – but isn’t. If you paid a small “redelivery fee,” which many people reported, that was a trick to get your credit card number. People also reported giving these scammers their personal information, including Social Security numbers.

4) Phony job offers
Promises of easy money for mystery shopping at well-known stores like Whole Foods and Walmart are an old scammer favorite. Reports about bogus offers to make money driving around with your car wrapped in ads are also common. Reports show job scammers also target people who post their resumes to employment websites like Indeed. In most of these reports, scammers use checks that seem to “clear” but turn out to be fake to trick
people into sending them money.

5) Not-really-from-Amazon security alerts
Like fake bank texts, texts from someone who says they’re “Amazon” look like automated fraud prevention messages. Often, they ask you to verify a big-ticket order you didn’t make. If you call the number in the text, you get a phony Amazon rep who offers to “fix” your account. People often report giving the rep remote access to their phone or computer so they can get things fixed and get their refund. But then the rep says a couple of zeros were accidently added to the refund, so they need you to return that money to them – often by buying gift cards and giving the cards’ PIN numbers.

not amazon

In all these cases, reporting can help stop scam text messages:

Forward it to 7726 (SPAM). This helps your wireless provider spot and block similar messages.

Report it on either the Apple iMessages app or Google’s Messages app for Android users.

Report it to the FTC at

How can you avoid text scams?

Never click on links or respond to unexpected texts. If you think it might be legit, contact the company using a phone number or website you know is real. Don’t use the information in the text message.

Filter unwanted texts before they reach you. There are a few ways to block unwanted texts.

Which is better: Whatsapp, Telegram or Signal?

Which messenger is recommended?

There are numerous instant messengers around, and at first glance, they hardly differ. However, if you take a closer look, distinctive differences become apparent beneath the surface, especially as far as security and privacy protection are concerned.

Overall, if security and privacy are your main concern, Signal is by far the secure service. While all three services use end-to-end encryption, Signal takes extra steps to ensure that the metadata information of its users is kept private and does not go out of its way to collect extra data on its users. However, most of your contacts probably don’t have it installed.

  • Telegram has 800 million active users (2023) worldwide.
  • Signal has 40 million active users (2022) worldwide.
  • WhatsApp has 2 billion active users (2020) worldwide.

When it comes to texting, everyone is out to gather your information. Your cell phone provider has copies of everything you send, everyone you call and they do not have a policy to ever remove your data. In fact, you accept a user’s agreement whenever you install an update or use their service that allow this to happen. Plus, the CLOUD Act (2018) entitles US authorities to access data from US IT service providers (even if the data is not stored in the US).

What’s the Verdict?

Unfortunately, very few people have Signal installed so it is hard to get others to switch over. With so many text programs available it is getting difficult to keep track of all of it or convince others to install “yet another Text App.”

More people have Telegram installed than any other messenger service. So, it may be easiest to convert over and find most of your contacts are already listed. Telegram like most all of the Messenger apps can comb through your contacts and find people who are already in the service.

WhatsApp is owned by Facebook since 2014. And we all know how well Facebook abuses its user’s data.

Zuck Smuck - photo image of Zuckerburg

ChatGPT Malware

Malware is on the rise for people who are interested in ChatGPT

You DO NOT need to install a program or software to test or use ChatGPT. Just go to the real website.

“ChatGPT malware” refers to malicious content distributed under the guise of ChatGPT (Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer) – a chatbot developed by OpenAI. Since its inception in the autumn of 2022, ChatGPT has reached extreme popularity. At the time of writing, its user base has grown over 100 million. It is particularly prevalent that any enormously popular product/service is swiftly taken advantage of by cyber criminals and scammers alike.

Although ChatGPT is only available online (, numerous fake desktop clients and mobile apps imitating this chatbot have been discovered. A variety of harmful and malicious software has been proliferated using “ChatGPT” as a disguise.

Additionally, OpenAI has released ChatGPT Plus – a paid premium service. This has opened the avenue for cyber criminals to offer “cracked” versions and create fake payment websites that target victims’ financial information.

At the time of writing, ChatGPT is exclusively an online tool – hence, there are no desktop or mobile applications available. However, over 50 “ChatGPT” apps have been discovered in the wild. Promoted on fraudulent ChatGPT/OpenAI Facebook pages, malicious websites, Google Play, and third-party Android stores – the applications include a variety of dubious and virulent content (e.g., adware, PUAs, trojans, etc.).

To summarize, the presence of an illegitimate ChatGPT app on a device could result in encounters with questionable/malicious ads or redirects, browsing activity tracking, data loss, severe privacy issues, significant financial losses, and identity theft.

Furthermore, since the creation of ChatGPT Plus – a premium service based on a monthly subscription, cyber criminals have started promoting fake payment sites for this service. The sites (regardless of whether used to proliferate malware or collect sensitive data) can perfectly mimic the graphics used by ChatGPT’s official website ( and use typosquatting techniques to get the URLs as close to the original as possible.

The discovered phishing sites target users’ credit card information (e.g., names, card numbers, expiration dates, CVVs, etc.), which can then be used by the scammers to make unauthorized online purchases or perform other credit card related fraud.

Due to the prevalence of fake ChatGPT content, we strongly recommend caution. Therefore, pay attention to URLs and enter them with care; do not trust offers that sound too good to be true, and do not download/install software promoted by suspicious sources.

Fake Authentication Emails on the Rise

Here are a few tricks to identifying these fake email alerts.

First look at the FROM address. If it isn’t from the domain name you are expecting then most likely it is bogus.

In this example the FROM address shows it is from a bar and grill domain name.

Next look at the “Payload” link – the thing they are trying to get you to click on. In this case it is the Blue Verification box. If you hold your mouse over the link in the email you will see a popup window showing the path. Look at the domain name within that path. You will see it doesn’t not go to a logical email server address or domain name you recognize.

If the email were truly from your email provider these elements would be more logical.

Do Not Upgrade to Windows 11

As always TeleComputers RECOMMENDS you do NOT upgrade to the new Windows 11 Operating System (OS) until the first full OS Patch has been released by Microsoft.

Usually, a year or so after the first release of a new system (like Windows 11) Microsoft will release a FIX patch which will repair all the issues reported by people who DID install the new system. Those who do install the new system are then BETA testing it for Microsoft with their own computer and time. Problems found could cause you to spend hours trying to find solutions online or cost you money for tech support when things go badly. We get a lot of phone calls to our tech support line when people realize that their things are no longer working.

Best bet for TeleComputers clients is to NOT approve of the download or installation of Win 11. If you happened to have already installed it, you may be able to reverse the install if you act quickly. Microsoft has been shortening the amount of time that end users can revert to an older operating system. With Win 10 it was 30 days with Win 11 you have 10 days. So DO NOT wait. Revert while you can. Our best tech support people will not be able to get you back to Win 10 without reinstalling the operating system from scratch. Basically, back to when you first got the PC.

Microsoft notes on its own Windows Update page that “Some Windows 10 features aren’t available in Windows 11. Certain apps and features may have additional requirements.”

If you have the Microsoft Office Suite installed – some of the Office programs will stop working or may require you to obtain a new user key (perhaps have to purchase the new keys) to get them to work with Win 11.


PrintNightmare Windows Patch Breaks Shared And Network Printing

In September Microsoft decided to release a patch that would stop an exploit called PrintNightmare from taking control of your windows system through the Printer Spool process. Unfortunately the patch was worse than the exploit because it has caused a lot of shared printers and network printers to stop functioning completely. We have been answering tech calls to fix printer problems since the release.

For most we have removed the updates – on some we were able to reinstall the network printer or share. This is certainly a Print Nightmare!

Here is a pretty good article about it from Tom’s Hardware:

You Need To Work From Home

Corona Virus – COVID-19 – Yes, you can work from home!

Work as if you are sitting in front of your work computer right from home or on your laptop anywhere in the world.

As Covid-19 spreads more and more people are considering working from home. But where to start?

There are several software packages that allow you to do this – some are free.

Fill out our contact form if you need immediate help setting this up. We can remote access into your PC any where in the world and set up Remote Access between your Home and Office devices. We do this all the time for our network and business clients. We can easily do it for you usually within one hour.

Click here to go to our contact form.

Social Distancing works – be safe!

That’s Not Microsoft…

Microsoft will not call you or ask you to call them!

I thought everyone knew about this but after two more people in as many days have had their computers hacked and locked up, it seems that many are still not aware of this.

Microsoft will not call you or ask you to call them! It is a scam. The two people mentioned above have given out their credit card information and each lost hundreds of dollars due to this scam. Plus now have to cancel the credit cards and still have a computer that doesn’t work.

Microsoft Scam Screen Sample image

If you don’t know – it usually begins with a pop up screen while you are looking at a page on a web site. The message is intended to scare you into calling a number to speak with a Microsoft Representative. Once they show you a bunch of fake pages on various web sites to convince you that you have hundreds of bad files and virus/trojan infections – they will volunteer to clean your PC over a Remote Access connection. This is where you allow the access to your PC; they can see your screen and move your mouse and keyboard. We use this type of program daily to legitimately fix computers for our clients. It is a great tool but these people are using it to scam you.

The entire scam is to get your credit card information. The call usually ends with the “fake tech rep” using a real (little known) Windows security feature called Syskey – to encrypt your computer with a password. Once that is done you can no longer open your computer unless you can guess the password. This can be fixed but it is not easy and sometimes requires that the computer be reset back to factory (like the day you bought it). This means you lose any and all information that you do not have backed up. You do know you should be backing up all those photos right?

So what should you do – as soon as the browser window shows you the fake warning screen – close the browser. If the page keeps coming back up every time you open the browser – that means your browser has been hijacked to use the fake warning page as the home page. You can change the home page setting in the browser settings to make it go away. If the page keeps coming back up and filling the entire screen so you cannot get to your desktop icons then you may have been infected with Ransom-ware. This is another form of extortion to get your money – immediately disconnect from the internet by pulling the plug to the network or turning off the WiFi or shut down the computer (hold the power button down until it goes off). Seek assistance from a legit Tech Support person. They will have seen this many times and can get you back up and running.

I hope this helps.

Privacy Policy

Copyright © | Design & Hosting by - Set Your Sites Here!