COLUMBUS, Ohio — Text message scams are on the rise. The Federal Trade Commission reports $326 million lost in 2022, resulting in 22% of fraud complaints.
Data collected in the annual Consumer Sentinel Network report shows the FTC took in 1.4 million fraud reports with a specified contact method. These are just the reports shared with the FTC.
“The data that we have, and the numbers that we have, those are all just based on what consumers are telling us,” said Fil de Banate, an attorney for the East Central Region of the FTC. “We know that there are a lot more consumers who might not be telling us or reporting to us the problems they are experiencing.”
To report a text message scam, you can forward the text to 7726 (SPAM) or you can go to the FTC’s website.
Reporting suspicious texts from an iPhone or Android doesn’t always go to the FTC.
“Those reports go directly either to their phone manufacturers or to their phone service providers,” said de Banate. “Generally speaking, the FTC does not get those.”
Consumer 10 reached out to AT&T to see what happens when you report a text as junk through iMessage on iPhone or Messages by Google.
The AT&T ActiveArmor security evaluates it, blocks similar messages and the number sending them, shares with industry security partners and takes down the site and email accounts.
Fil de Banate says Verizon directs consumers to report to the FTC, but immediate sharing is not happening currently.
“I think there's a lot of work to be done, but I think the conversations that need to happen, those are happening,” said de Banate.