A recent text scam is targeting parents and involves a desperate plea for help from a child in hospital after a serious car accident. One variation of the scam describes the accident in graphic detail:
Mum i did try and phone from some else phone signal is really bad, there has been a terrible car accident. I’m in the ICU ward in hospital my phone ain’t switching on and needs charging.
I’m on this mobile number please make sure you reply to this number, my friend didn’t make it he died before we got to hospital and his sister’s fighting for her life. Mum i had my seatbelt on, i’ve got a head injury but i’m ok.
Going into Xray to be seen, please make sure you message me back and don’t phone cause mobile phones aren’t allowed here so please text in case I’m in there.
I will go outside and phone you mum its really bad i need you to do me favour before it’s too late, as soon as you get my text please reply by text i need you to do me a favour mum, time is running out and i need you to do something mum
After a concerned parent responds to the messages the scammers ask for electronic voucher codes or money transfers.
Text message scammers will use despicable tactics like these to take advantage of victims who are desperate to help their loved ones, but there are some things you can do to help your parents avoid becoming victims themselves.
Make them Aware of text message scams
The best way to help others avoid text message scams is to make them aware of the methods that professional scammers are using. Whether it's fake bank account suspension notices, scam utility refund offers, or phoney threats from government tax agencies, it's important to be aware of the ways scammers are trying to trick you out of your money.
Update their phone sOftware
Doing software updates on your phone can be annoying but it can make big difference. A typical software update can contain dozens of patches for security holes in the operating system which are sometimes used as part of text message scams. Apple's iOS 11 update contained fixes for 38 security issues discovered by security researchers.
Scams that include links to web content are particularly dangerous when using outdated phone software so make sure your parents' phones are up to date.
Install a Text Message Spam Blocker
A text message spam blocker like SMSBarrier uses advanced machine learning techniques to automatically identify scam text messages and filter them into the junk folder of your Messages app. This helps make it clear that the message should not be trusted and could help your parents avoid costly mistakes. Try it out today or give it as a gift on the App Store.