Wisconsin BBB warns of ‘wrong number’ phishing texts

The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau is warning residents of a new phishing text message scheme.Officials said they started to receive reports that messages being sent nationally are also being received by Wisconsinites.The typical text message reads something like, “I was hoping we could repeat last night “or” I have not heard back from you, did I do something wrong. “The message usually includes a picture of a woman with blond or red hair.It’s unclear who the women are.Several members of the WISN 12 news staff also reported receiving the text messages. “Ya 4got to message last night after the bar 🙁 I really hoped we would have a (sic) exciting night last night,” one message read.It was sent at 5:38 pm Wednesday from a number with a 773 area code.That covers part of Chicago.The BBB said the origin of the text messages is unknown.Officials said they believe the sender wants the recipient to engage in a conversation.The goal is for the recipient to reply that the sender has the wrong numbe r.At that point, the sender will try to engage them in a text conversation to see where it will lead. Scammers are sending the picture to random phone numbers, pretending to be this woman, as if they “accidentally” texted the wrong phone number in some cases. The sender is hoping a conversation ensues so they can perpetuate a romance scam. Some have allegedly and reportedly received nude photos sent in return if the recipient continues to text the sender. Others have reportedly gotten lured to a dating site or adult site where they tried to get them to spend money. At a minimum, they’re likely designed to confirm an active phone line so they can sell information to a spammer. The BBB recommended if residents receive the text, or anything similar, to not respond but delete it.If you respond, what you are really doing for the scammer is confirming yours is a legitimate phone number.Considering the dubious nature of this scam, if you hand over your credit card information at any point, you could be putting yourself at risk for fraudulent charges and identity theft. “It’s a different approach than most scammers take and I did not think anything too seriously until more of my friends started to say that they also received it,” said Pam Anson, Director of Brand Outreach for BBB Serving Greater Cleveland. “It’s obvious that the scammers are trying to elicit a response, such as sympathy, to this woman for receiving a fake number from a friend, but we need to remind consumers that appearances can be deceiving.” How to avoid chatbot scams: Ignore texts from strangers. Strangers on the internet can pretend to be anyone. Question motives behind both solicited and unsolicited messages. If you receive a text from someone you do not know, simply do not reply. It’s the safest route. If you engage with a scammer, even briefly, they will mark your number as active and you could receive even more shady texts in the future. Block numbers that appear to come from scammers. Unsolicited texts that look like they come from a chatbot or that ask you to click on suspicious links are probably not safe. Block these numbers to prevent scammers from contacting you through them again. Never give your personal information to strangers. Never share your credit card or banking information, your full name, home address, or social security number with someone you never met in person. Remember that any photo you upload on social media can be stolen and used by a scammer. For more information: If you have compromised your personal information, you can report the incident to law enforcement and the Federal Trade Commission. For additional romance scam resources visit BBB.org/romance. Read the BBB Tip: Spot the red flags of fake text messages. Read more about similar scams, such as text messages with surprise offers or mandatory COVID-19 tests. If you’ve been the victim of a text message scam, report it at BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can help expose scammers’ tactics so others will not fall prey. Check out our Spot a Scam page for more ways to keep yourself safe.

The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau is warning residents of a new phishing text message scheme.

Officials said they started to receive reports that messages being sent nationally are also being received by Wisconsinites.

The typical text message reads something like, “I was hoping we could repeat last night” or “I have not heard back from you, did I do something wrong.”

The message usually includes a picture of a woman with blond or red hair.

It’s unclear who the women are.

Several members of the WISN 12 news staff also reported receiving the text messages.

“Ya 4got to message last night after the bar 🙁 I really hoped we would have a (sic) exciting night last night,” one message read.

It was sent at 5:38 pm Wednesday from a number with a 773 area code.

That covers part of Chicago.

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The BBB said the origin of the text messages is unknown.

Officials said they believe the sender wants the recipient to engage in a conversation.

The goal is for the recipient to reply that the sender has the wrong number.

At that point, the sender will try to engage them in a text conversation to see where it will lead.

Scammers are sending the picture to random phone numbers, pretending to be this woman, as if they “accidentally” texted the wrong phone number in some cases.

The sender is hoping a conversation ensues so they can perpetuate a romance scam.

Some have allegedly and reportedly received nude photos sent in return if the recipient continues to text the sender.

Others have reportedly gotten lured to a dating site or adult site where they tried to get them to spend money.

At a minimum, they’re likely designed to confirm an active phone line so they can sell information to a spammer.

The BBB recommended if residents receive the text, or anything similar, to not respond but delete it.

If you respond, what you are really doing for the scammer is confirming yours is a legitimate phone number.

Considering the dubious nature of this scam, if you hand over your credit card information at any point, you could be putting yourself at risk of fraudulent charges and identity theft.

“It’s a different approach than most scammers take and I did not think anything too seriously until more of my friends started to say that they also received it,” said Pam Anson, Director of Brand Outreach for BBB Serving Greater Cleveland. “It’s obvious that the scammers are trying to elicit a response, such as sympathy, to this woman for receiving a fake number from a friend, but we need to remind consumers that appearances can be deceiving.”

How to avoid chatbot scams:

  • Ignore texts from strangers. Strangers on the internet can pretend to be anyone. Question motives behind both solicited and unsolicited messages. If you receive a text from someone you do not know, simply do not reply. It’s the safest route. If you engage with a scammer, even briefly, they will mark your number as active and you could receive even more shady texts in the future.
  • Block numbers that appear to come from scammers. Unsolicited texts that look like they come from a chatbot or that ask you to click on suspicious links are probably not safe. Block these numbers to prevent scammers from contacting you through them again.
  • Never give your personal information to strangers. Never share your credit card or banking information, your full name, home address, or social security number with someone you never met in person. Remember that any photo you upload on social media can be stolen and used by a scammer.

For more information:

If you have compromised your personal information, you can report the incident to law enforcement and the Federal Trade Commission.

For additional romance scam resources visit BBB.org/romance.

Read the BBB Tip: Spot the red flags of fake text messages.

Read more about similar scams, such as text messages with surprise offers or mandatory COVID-19 tests.

If you’ve been the victim of a text message scam, report it at BBB.org/ScamTracker.

Your report can help expose scammers’ tactics so others will not fall prey.

Check out our Spot a Scam page for more ways to keep yourself safe.

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