PORTLAND, Oregon — Been getting random group text messages from phone numbers you don’t recognize? You’re not alone. These annoying group texts offering “deals” and “free money” are spam. Here are five things you need to know:
Don’t reply or text "STOP"
It’s best to ignore these group texts. Responding to a spam message could tag your phone number as valid and it may be shared with other scammers. Additionally, don’t text STOP. Legitimate companies often include an option to text STOP to tell the company to remove you from their distribution list. Scammers don’t care. And it may cause you more trouble because responding will just continue the chain of text messages.
Don’t click on a link
Most of these group text messages include some type of link for a special offer. Don’t click. Links can install malware on your phone or computer or take you to spoof sites that look real but whose purpose is to steal your information.
Block the number
You can block the number that’s been sending you text messages. On an iPhone, tap the circle icons showing people on the group text, then hit the “info”. Scroll to the bottom of the list. Hit the arrow the right, then click “Block this Caller.”
On an Android phone, hit the three-dot icon in the upper right and select the option to block the number.
It’s not just you
Scammers aren’t just picking on you. These group text messages work just like robocalls and junk mail. The scammers use automated programming to send thousands, maybe millions of group text messages to random phone numbers hoping someone will respond.
If you are an AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint or Bell subscriber, you can report spam texts to your mobile carrier. Just copy the original message and forward it to the number 7726 (SPAM), free of charge.
You can also file a complaint with the FTC.