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Expert warns users to look out for text message scams

Posted at 1:20 PM, Sep 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-28 11:47:48-04

TULSA, Okla. — Experts are warning people not to trust just any link in a text message.

One woman told 2 News that's what happened to her when she got a text saying someone was trying to sign in to her Amazon account. Melinda clicked on the link and provided just enough information for the crook to raid her checking account and steal several hundred dollars before she closed the account.

"I feel like an idiot," Melinda said. "You hear about people getting scammed all the time. I never thought it would be me. They just caught me at the wrong time."

The wrong time for Melinda turned out to be the perfect time for scammers who bombard people with their urgent-sounding fake texts.

"Most of the time they can be malicious," says Tyler Moore, a Professor of Computer Science and Cyber Security at the University of Tulsa. "When people see texts, they don't think it's going to be dangerous. You maybe know not to click on links in an email, but for some reason, you don't make the same association with a link that comes in a text."

Moore warns folks about texts with links from unknown numbers. But be leery, too, he says, about texts from numbers or people you recognize as those links can end up being dangerous as well.

"Maybe send then another text saying, 'what's this about?' or call them on the phone," Moore suggested. "We used to actually talk on the phone, you can use it as a chance to talk to someone, 'hey did you really send me this link?'"

No matter how urgent the text sounds experts say don't click on any links.

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