You’re not alone if you’ve received persistent and suspicious texts from unknown numbers. It’s common for scammers to use text messages to acquire your information illegally or hack private accounts. In addition, it’s common for people to send a text back to the original unknown sender to either play a reverse prank or reply out of courtesy.
However, scammers are getting very creative, and you should leave those distrustful texts be. There are chances that you can get hacked by replying to a text. Our guide will explain how you can protect your private information and avoid answering unnecessary texts to prevent hackers from gaining access to your personal information.
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Can Scammers Steal Your Information Through A Text?
Smishing is a term that refers to people who phish through text messages. Phishing refers to acquiring people’s information through fraudulent means, and smishing is just the SMS version. For example, people can steal your information through text by pretending to be a trustworthy source, such as a news anchor or official personnel.
Ensure that you do not respond to texts from people you do not know, even if they’re attempting to manipulate you into believing they’re preventing you from some tremendous immense harm. Sometimes, scammers can even pretend to be in trouble, so you’ll need to avoid being a good samaritan in your text messages.
Sensitive information such as social security numbers, credit card numbers, or passport details should not be shared with any sources online. Refrain from doing so. However, they cannot automatically gain access to or steal your information if you don’t share any information.
What Does Replying To A Spam Text Do?
While you might receive some relatively harmless spam texts, it’s best to avoid responding to spam altogether. If you choose to respond to a scammer, it legitimizes your number in their book of people to target.
Furthermore, this leads to your number being sold to other scammers, and you’ll get more persistent texts regarding advertisements or fraudulent offers.
Instead, it’s in your favor to block the number and report it if you can. Doing this will lower your chances of receiving more spam texts and calls. Applications such as TrueCaller can help you determine whether unknown calls or texts are coming from legitimate people or scammers. It’s best to have an application installed for your safety to ensure you’re adequately filtering out all the wrong sources. TrueCaller can also help if you are on the receiving end of automated calls (Please see What is a Text Mail Subscriber? for more details).
Can I Get Hacked By Replying To A Text?
You cannot get hacked if you’re merely responding to a text. However, your number will be at risk for numerous other spam and fraudulent texts. In addition, your number might get sold to other scamming sources, which will send persistent ads, invite you to be a part of pyramid schemes, and even call you to pretend to be customer service support.
Most scammers use unique methods to get to you, and it’s usually people themselves that give their sensitive information away by falling for their tricks. So to avoid getting hacked, do not respond.
However, if you have already responded, do not engage in conversation, as scammers will try to earn your trust by pretending to be an authentic source. If they’re urging you to share private information and acting to help you avert a threat, that’s a trap.
If you’ve received a suspicious link, do not click on it. This can cause you to get hacked and have your device infiltrated with different types of malware. It would be best to practice never clicking on ongoing random links, whether text messages or Instagram DMs.
When Should I Respond To A Text From An Unknown Number?
Not all unknown numbers are harmless, and some might even be important. It’s crucial to differentiate between an actual genuine person reaching out to you and a scamming attempt. The first thing you do is authenticate the number immediately. As aforementioned, you can use an application like TrueCaller to do so. The application will notify you if it’s a spam number, which is an additional barrier between you and scammers.
However, there are chances when even applications won’t be able to help you decipher a scam text. In these cases, investigate the content of the text message that you’ve received. If they’re trying to lure you into clicking on a suspicious link, it’s spam. Most scammers might also ask for help which you should not provide and immediately block the number.
Another helpful trick for filtering out spam is to turn a spam filter on. Most mobile phones have a feature to filter out spam and genuine numbers. If the text you’ve received is an attempt at reconciliation or relates to a specific thing in your life, you can respond. Most scamming attempts are poorly orchestrated, and it should be easy for you to filter fraudulent texts out.
Can You Get A Virus Through Spam Texts?
As a concise answer, yes, you can get hacked or get a virus by a spam text. However, devices haven’t made it easy for scammers to gain access. They’ll need confirmation from you or will lure you into clicking a suspicious link to release malware onto your device.
The most apparent method of releasing malware is to send a suspicious link. These suspicious links can offer you some gift or an entry into an appealing raffle. Unfortunately, once you’ve clicked, your device will get infected. The most common signs of your device having a virus are persistent and random pop-ups.
Likewise, you’ll notice that texts and calls are being made via the phone carrier that you don’t make. As a result, your phone battery might drain quickly, and your mobile data usage should have increased. If this has already occurred, you might want to back up your phone and perform a factory reset.
If the problem persists, it’s best to change phone numbers. While this is inconvenient, it’s the last resort that you have to get rid of a scamming attempt.
Can You Get Scammed By Opening A Text Message?
No, you cannot get scammed by merely opening a text message. Most devices offer strict protocols to prevent your sensitive information from being stolen. Therefore, you’re still safe if you’ve opened a text from a fraudulent source.
The only way you get scammed is if you act in return for the text message, such as responding, sharing sensitive information, or clicking on an untrustworthy link. So while most are tempted to prank scammers, it’s best to block that number and continue with your day.
How Do I Prevent Hacking Via Text Messages?
There are several things you can do to prevent being hacked. Our guide below will cite all these tips to protect your privacy and information.
Tip #1) Don’t expose your number online
Ensure you do not give your number to unknown sources, especially online. Be cautious of where your number is being used and who has access to it.
Tip #2) Avoid suspicious websites and applications
Do not download any suspicious applications on your phone, as they can automatically gain access to your number. You can check the authenticity of applications by reading reviews and ensuring all texting and calling applications are end-to-end encrypted.
Tip #3) Activate spam filters
Activate spam filters on your email, text messages, and social media. This will automatically filter out any phishing attacks.
Tip #4) Avoid suspicious links
Do not click on suspicious links or download files from unknown sources. There’s no guaranteed foolproof way to identify a scamming attempt; however, being cautious can help you avoid malware infiltration on your device.
In today’s digital climate, scammers are getting very creative and sometimes almost undetectable with their techniques. However, our guide provides all the tips and awareness you need to avoid getting hacked by responding to a text. Ensure you do not respond, block, or report scamming attempts to your mobile carrier.