Verizon users are being scammed by their own phone numbers
That’s an inventive way around the block list.
UPDATE 3/29/2022 4:22 PM ET: Verizon has finally addressed this recent security threat and blames it on “bad actors.” The company says they’re actively working to block these spam messages. A statement can be found below, along with the original story.
Verizon gave all of its mobile customer’s free spam protection years ago. Now, it seems that the scammers have found a way around the text spam protections, by ingeniously spoofing the customer’s own phone number.
Chris Welch at The Verge got one of these self-sent spam texts, so naturally, he wrote about the experience. The text looked like most spammy messages, promising “a little gift” for paying his phone bill.
The difference with this message? The text was coming from inside the house, as the sender’s phone number was his own.
He started to investigate and found that he wasn’t the only self-spam text around. Multiple customers on Verizon and its MVNO, Visible, have been receiving the same texts, seemingly from their own phone numbers.
Smishing attacks like this are on the rise. Usually, the scammers spoof, or pretend to be from, other phone numbers in your area. This is the first time I can recall the scammers spoofing the number they’re texting to.
If you’re receiving spam texts, from your own number or any other number, you can report them. For Verizon users, forward the message to SPAM (7726) and their security team will investigate.
They say this won’t put your own phone number on any blocklists if it’s being spoofed. That same number works for all US carriers, so forward on any spam texts.
You can also report it to the FCC because they hate spam more than we do. Choose “Unwanted Calls/Messages” as the Phone Issue, then “My Own Phone Number Is Being Spoofed” as the Sub Issue. That will enable them to investigate further.
Verizon has addressed the issue and confirmed they’re looking into the matter, recruiting the help of US law enforcement.
“Verizon is aware that bad actors are sending spam text messages to some customers which appear to come from the customers’ own number,” Verizon spokesperson Rich Young told The Verge by email. “Our team is actively working to block these messages, and we have engaged with US law enforcement to identify and stop the source of this fraudulent activity. Verizon continues to work on behalf of the customer to prevent spam texts and related activity.”
Whatever other actions you take, don’t click the link in any spam text. You could end up being the victim of a scam.
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