INDIANAPOLIS — Scammers are using a new twist on an old text message scam to grab your attention and your personal information.
Staci Stickovich is a working mom in Elkhart, Indiana.
She occasionally enjoys a glass of wine, so she didn’t think much when she got a random text message of a bottle of wine.
"I thought maybe this is a friend sending me a text message,” said Stickovich. “I didn't say anything because I didn't recognize the number. I didn't respond."
She then got two more similar texts from different numbers.
“I thought ‘this is not right,’” said Stickovich. “So, I Googled the number and found a thread on Reddit that said wine text scam."
The Better Business Bureau says what Stickovich received is a new twist on the “wrong number scam,” in which the sender appears to text you by mistake.
When you respond “wrong number,” the bad actor tries to strike up a conversation with you.
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"It's the same trick, just a new tactic about it,” said Jennifer Adamany with the Better Business Bureau Serving Central Indiana. “They're trying to catch you off guard, let down your defenses. If you think it's someone you might know you don't want to be rude and not say anything and you want to see who it is."
By responding, you’re letting scammers know you have a working number and are willing to engage.
“They're either after your money or your identity," said Adamany.
The BBB warns scammers can use Artificial Intelligence to create enticing images, and while they’re using wine now, they’ll likely move on to other innocent pictures like puppies or a pretty sunset.
Keep in mind, bad actors spoof phone numbers that look like they’re local.
WRTV Investigates tried calling one of the phone numbers that texted Staci Stickovich and the voicemail said, “We could not complete your call, please try again.”
“They probably sent it through some robocall system, it's not an actual number,” said Adamany.
Staci Stickovich can understand why people might fall for it.
“It definitely made me pause when I saw it because it could have totally been a text message from a friend wanting to show me a bottle they had most recently purchased," said Stickovich.
Stickovich reports the texts and deletes them, which is what the BBB says you should do.
TIPS FROM THE BBB:
- Don’t trust unsolicited messages.
- Watch out for suspicious links.
- Know that a personalized message doesn’t make the sender trustworthy.
- Look for spelling and grammar errors.
- If a website looks real, check again.
- Look up phone numbers before you call.
- If you spot a scam text, don’t reply
- Keep your antivirus software up to date.