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Text message scams on the rise this holiday season, BBB warns

Posted at 12:48 PM, Dec 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-01 13:35:22-05

Mixed in with messages from those you know and love are texts trying to steal your information, money, or both.

This holiday season, the Better Business Bureau says thieves are cranking up what's known as "smishing" because they use SMS to try and get to you.

"Their goal is to entice you to click on a link to get you to either a. download malware on to your cellphone, have you fill out a form that they link you to collect personal information, or send you to a page to make a payment so they can gather credit card information from you," said Bryan Oglesby with the Better Business Bureau.

Some of these messages may appear legit, but the Better Business Bureau says you should always go straight to the source instead of replying.

According to the BBB, online purchase scams are the most reported form of cyber theft for the last three years.

It's when scammers use fake websites or emails to offer attractive deals.

"The top ways consumers fall victim to these scams are based on price. The price they are looking for the greatest deal. It's too good to be true offer. They act on it. And they come to find out that offer never existed in the first place," said Oglesby.

Also, watch out for ads on social media pages — those can be scams too.

To protect yourself, research companies at www.bbb.org, or to see if a website is legit, you can use www.whois.com.

"Just a few minutes of research and verification can help a consumer save hundreds of dollars and actually receive the product you are trying to make a purchase on and not be out of that money," said Oglesby.

Also, watch out for charity scams on December 1 for Giving Tuesday.

This story originally reported by Erik Waxler on ABCActionNews.com.