Text message scams surging: Know the warning signs of a 'robotext'

While fewer robocalls are being reported, robotexts are on the rise with delivery scams becoming more prevalent.
Posted at 6:55 AM, Oct 11, 2023

How often do you see an alert on your phone telling you there's a problem with one of your deliveries? With the peak holiday shopping season about to hit, knowing how to spot a phone scam is more important than ever.

Eric Schwartz received a text alert on his phone recently.

"I noticed it was from the USPS (U.S. Postal Service)," he said.

He paid attention because he was waiting for a package.

"It said, 'Your package arrived at the warehouse but could not be delivered due to incomplete address information,'" he said. "I clicked on the link without hesitation. I updated my information and all of a sudden, it is asking for a credit card."

He stopped at that point, and it was a good thing because it was really a text scam.

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Part of the issue customers reported was the email appeared to be for those who bought gift cards — but those who didn't still received the email.


Robotexts exploding in 2023

The spam-blocking app Robokiller says robocalls are actually down 21% compared to last year, but robotexts shot up 18%.

Of all the text scams out there, one category stands out among the rest: delivery scams.

Robokiller's Giulia Porter says scammers pay attention to what consumers are doing. And right now, many are adding more items to their online shopping carts.

"What we're seeing is, of course, scams that are trying to catch you when you're not paying attention and really mimic, you know, real texts you might receive," she said.

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​Special Agent Sarah Lewis with the FBI Baltimore Field Office said there is a recipe that romance scammers follow and points out red flags to notice.


Warning signs of a text scam

Since you can sign up for legitimate delivery notifications with stores and shipping companies, how do you know what's real? There are obvious signs, like spelling and grammatical errors to watch for.

Or look for "urgent" requests, saying "action is required."

Porter says a legitimate business request would likely come via email, not just through text, so that's a red flag.

Robokiller and similar apps can help stop these spam texts.

"We have technology that, you know, is very smart within less than a second at identifying if an incoming call or text is a scam," Porter said,

Just know you'll pay a fee. Robokiller is $4.99 a month.

Schwartz says these texts are so convincing.

"I really didn't hesitate," she said.