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Hub for Podcasting

Your Moment of Trust
brought to you by Hub for Podcasting and the Better Business Bureau of the Tri Counties.

Jan 2, 2024

A Podcast by BBB of the Tri-Counties:  A BIG thank you to Ayers Automotive Repairs in Santa Barbara for Supporting this Podcast!

Welcome to this week’s edition of Your Moment of Trust! A new text message scam
seems so innocent that it’s tempting to reply. But con artists are using phony “wrong
number” texts to lure victims into conversation and falling for a scam.

How the scam works

You receive a text that reads something like this: “Hey is this John? It’s Amanda. We
chatted on Tinder before when I came to visit my cousin but we never met irl. I’m
back in town if you want to meet up this time, are you free?”

If you reply to a text like this, even with a polite, “Sorry, wrong number,” the stranger
responds anyway, seemingly ignoring your answer. Usually, you’ll receive a few
compliments and some photos of “Amanda,” who appears to be a scantily clad blonde
woman. However, as the word gets out about this scam, scammers will change up the
names, backstory, and photos.

If you continue to engage with the stranger, who is really a chat bot, it tries to trick you into registering for dating or adult websites. Your new “friend” will encourage you to sign up for a specific website to see more explicit photos, which may involve offering up your credit card 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.

Even BBB staff has received these texts. “I did a double-take,” says Pam Anson,
Director of Brand Outreach for BBB Serving Greater Cleveland. “It’s a different
approach than most scammers take and I didn’t think anything too seriously until more of my friends started to say that they also received it... 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 chat bot 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 don’t know, simply don’t 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 chat bot 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 Read the BBB Tip: Spot
the red flags of fake text messages. Read more about similar scams, such about text
messages with surprise offers.

If you’ve been the victim of a text message scam, report it at
Your report can help expose scammers’ tactics so others won’t fall prey.

Until next time!