Verizon investigates spam texts but sees no link with Russia

Wireless carrier Verizon blamed “bad actors” on Wednesday for thousands of spam text messages recently received by its customers and said it was working with federal law enforcement agencies to try to determine the source.

The telecom giant confirmed in a statement on Wednesday that its customers were targeted with rogue texts offering them a free gift, which was reported on Monday by the edge, a website for technology news. Some users reported being redirected to Russian state media websites when they clicked on links in texts, but Verizon was treating the texts as a typical phishing scheme intended to defraud consumers.

“As part of a recent fraud scheme, bad actors have sent text messages to certain Verizon customers that appear to come from the customer’s private number,” the statement read. “Our company has significantly reduced this current activity, but nearly all wireless service providers have experienced similar fraudulent activity in recent months.”

The chart highlighted the steady rise in the number of complaints to the federal government by consumers who said they were victims of spam texting.

In response to follow-up questions on Wednesday, a Verizon spokesperson said the company believes several thousand of its customers have received the transcripts as part of a broader scheme affecting major wireless carriers.

The spokesperson, Rich Young, said Verizon blocked one of the numbers that sent some messages, but the source was continuing to use other numbers for spam clients.

Young said, there was no indication that the letters came from Russia which has become Suspected of carrying out cyber attacks Amidst this country’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

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According to Verizon, it was working with the FBI and the US Secret Service to determine the source of the texts, which tempted recipients to click on a link offering them a free gift. Security experts generally advise against clicking on links sent from strange or unknown accounts.

Mr Young said the fraudulent requests were intended to get people to enter their credit card information. He added that clicking on the link would not likely expose these customers’ mobile phones to malware.

The FBI declined to comment on Wednesday, as did the Secret Service.

T-Mobile said in an email on Wednesday that it found no evidence that its customers were receiving text messages, but that it added known links identified as part of a fraud scheme to its spam blocking filters.

An AT&T spokesperson said in an email on Wednesday that the company is closely monitoring the situation, but has not seen anything similar on its network.

In 2021, the Federal Trade Commission said it received 377,840 reports of fraud caused by text message requestsThe total losses amounted to 131 million dollars. The average loss was $900, according to the commission.

Cell phone users can report suspicious text messages by copying and forwarding the messages to 7726, which spells SPAM, a reporting service created by GSMA, a wireless association whose members include Verizon.

Most smartphones include features to block unwanted calls and text messages. To try to keep telemarketers and other attorneys at bay, consumers can also add their numbers to the Federal Do Not Call Registry.

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But these barriers have not prevented fraudsters from trying to entice mobile phone users to give away financial and other personal data through offers that include free gifts. Some scam texts invite recipients to click on links that contain tracking updates for fake shipments.

A cybersecurity expert said on Wednesday that suspicious text messages should be treated with the same extreme vigilance as suspicious emails.

He said “Don’t click on links, especially if something doesn’t look right” Tim Webber, director of security services at ADNET Technologies in Rocky Hill, Connecticut. “Outwardly they look like phishing emails.”

Mr Webber advised people to use the security features built into smartphones to prevent them from being compromised, including biometric locks – those that use fingerprints or facial recognition – and two-factor authentication.

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