Missed Call Text: Phone Scam Overview
Text message spam is a growing problem in the United States. A 2011 study by Tatango, an SMS marketing company, found that 68% of U.S. consumers have been affected by SMS message spam. Text message spammers are often trying to scam people out of their money and other sensitive information via phishing.
The missed call text scam is one of the more common forms of SMS spam.
What Is the Missed Call Text Message Scam?
In this scam, the perpetrators send text messages claiming that they tried calling their victims earlier. The message is usually cryptic and requests that the recipient reply back as soon as possible.
Most people will reply back to the text by calling or texting. Unfortunately, replying can be very expensive.
By responding to these texts, you will be charged high rates for long-distance calls or be added to a premium texting service plan. You may be billed for every minute of the call or enrolled in a monthly premium texting service plan without your consent.
Back in 2013, several of the large carriers were found to be defrauding customers by adding these texting services onto plans without the express consent of their customers. In a joint investigation the FTC and FCC fined Verizon Wireless and Sprint a total of $158 million.
The missed call text messages are sent by an automated system. Like the one-ring call scam the missed call text scams main goal is to trick it's victims into calling the number back and staying on the line for as long as possible.
How to Protect Yourself From This Scam
Never assume that it's harmless to reply to an unsolicited text message. The FTC warns that unscrupulous companies can bill you merely for replying to their messages. Even if you have an unlimited texting plan, the scammer can bill you for premium texting services.
You should also keep in mind that text message spam is illegal under the CAN SPAM Act. Any business that violates this law is unlikely to be doing so for legitimate purposes.
Check for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors in text messages as this is a clear sign of a fraudulent message.
The best way to protect yourself is to never reply to messages that don't seem legitimate. Only reply if you either recognize the number or the business has a valid reason to be contacting you.
How to Report the Scam
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) keeps close tabs on companies that engage in shady SMS billing practices. If you suspect a missed call text is part of a scam, you should report it and block the text.
You can also report text spam in CallerSmart's community phone book. By leaving your feedback on numbers that spam you, you'll help others in your community. You can run free reverse phone lookups on any U.S. phone number in our phone tracing app or in our online phone book to see others' feedback and check for signs of suspicious behavior.