Verizon customers should be on the lookout for a text message scam that has been making its rounds in recent days. PhoneArena.com warned of a phishing scam using unsolicited text messages to try to trick Verizon customers into handing over their personal information. The text message from the bogus phone number 562-666-1159 says "Verizon Free Msg: Sept bill is paid. Thanks, [customer's first name]! Here's a little gift for you." A link follows the end of the message.
Verizon customers should not click on the link if they receive that text or one like it; if you do, you might be directed to a site asking you to fill out personal information such as your name, address, social security number, phone number and other information that can be used to change your Verizon password. From there, you could potentially lose control of your Verizon account while the bad actor changes the password, address and other information, which would allow the bad actor to order expensive new phones that you would be paying for — not to mention the logistical nightmare that would follow.
No matter your phone carrier, you should not immediately trust a text or email that looks like it could be genuine, as phishing scams have gotten more sophisticated over time. Look for a tell, like a simple typo or an unprofessional tone in the copy. Even if there are no obvious clues that the message could be spam, you should still be suspicious. A good idea is to Google the phone number or email address to see if anyone else has reported it as spam or phishing. If you're unsure if a text or email is genuine, call the carrier it supposedly came from and ask about the message.
It's also helpful to keep in mind what kind of communications you've previously received from the supposed company that is reaching out to you. In this instance, if you don't recall ever getting texts about paying your bill, that would be a good indicator that something is not right.