Watch out for text scams!

In 2012, more than $7,700 in losses were reported to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre from these kinds of schemes

British Columbians are increasingly losing money to text messaging-related scams.

In 2012, more than $7,700 in losses were reported to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre from these kinds of schemes – a 600 per cent increase over the previous year.

To mark March’s Fraud Prevention Month – a month-long, national initiative that helps Canadians recognize, prevent and report fraudulent activities – the Ministry of Justice, Consumer Protection BC and the Better Business Bureau Mainland BC have teamed up to share important information with British Columbian consumers about texting and app scams.

You might be at risk if…

You click on text message links from unfamiliar sources.

Tips to lessen the risk:

  • If you are notified via a text message about a prize you have won, confirm with the actual source independently and do not click on any links or respond to the message.
  • Do not share personal information (including credit card numbers) via text messages. And remember that you should never have to pay an upfront fee to claim a prize.

You receive texts from third-party marketing companies.

Tips to lessen the risk:

  • Avoid playing games where you need to share your personal data with the company. If you do play online, read the full terms and conditions to find out how the company will use your information.
  • Ignore instructions to text “STOP” or “NO” to prevent future texts – this could be a ploy by scammers to confirm they have a real, active phone number.
  • Forward the texts to 7726 (SPAM on most keypads). This will alert your cell phone carrier to block future texts from those numbers.

You sign up for free apps, but don’t read the terms and conditions.

Tips to lessen the risk:

  • Read all the terms and conditions when signing up for the app or game, including how the company will use your information.