Georgia attorney general warns of new text message scams

Credit: WSBTV Videos

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Don’t click the link: Beware of new driver’s license text message scam

Credit: WSBTV Videos

Don’t click those links

Georgia has one of the highest rates of fraud reports per 100,000 people in 2022, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Now, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr has come forward to warn residents about a rise in text scams. Older adults are often targeted in fraud schemes, so seniors should be on the lookout.

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People ages 50-79 within the U.S. have lost a combined $451,076,329 to scams and fraud in the first quarter of 2022 alone, according to the FTC. Business impersonation is the most popular scam within the age group, though investments scams have accrued the most monetary damages this year — a whopping $68,890,000, more than three times that of business impersonation scams.

The attorney general issued a warning on Thursday, telling Georgia residents to be on the lookout for text message scams. Phones are scammers’ most used form of contact in 2022 when defrauding victims 70 or older, the FTC said.

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“Scammers will use any means to commit their crimes, including sending texts that initially appear to come from a trusted source, such as a government entity, law enforcement agency, bank or well-known retailer,” Carr said in the press release. “What may seem like an urgent or enticing message is often an attempt by a fraudster to infect your device or steal your money or personal information. Our goal is to ensure Georgians have the resources they need to protect themselves from fraudsters and thieves, and we stand ready to assist any consumer who thinks they may have fallen victim to a text message scam.”

Watch out for these common scams

Here are all of the text message scams that Carr asked residents to be on the lookout for:

  • Driver’s license scams: You will receive a text message, claiming to be from the Department of Driver Services, informing you that your license has been suspended. Don’t fall for it. The DDS never communicates through text messaging. These scammers are often after your driver’s license information
  • Government imposter scams: You will receive a text message claiming to be from the IRS, local law enforcement or another government entity. Never respond to text messages purporting to come from the government. If you fear that the message is legitimate, look up the government agency’s phone number and call for confirmation instead. These scammers are often after your social security information or money.
  • Prize and reward point scams: You will receive a text claiming to be from a private company, such as Amazon or Walmart. They will claim that you have won a prize, likely for being the first among a number of people to click their link. Don’t fall for it. You did not win anything. These scammers are after your bank account information and the funds within.
  • Package delivery scams: You will receive a text claiming there is a package waiting for you and that you should click the included link to confirm delivery or track the package. Never click on these links. If you have a package in transit, contact the shipper directly for information on your items. These scammers are after your personal information.
  • Bank or credit card account suspended scams: You will receive a text warning you of fraudulent activity on your financial account. The text will ask you to click an included link or call a number to provide your financial information so you can freeze the account. Don’t. Instead, call the financial institution’s official number to report the texts. These scammers are after your PIN, credit card and other account numbers.

In the end, the FTC asks you to remember these facts to avoid phone scams, as per their consumer advice page:

  • There is no prize
  • You won’t be arrested
  • You don’t need to decide now (don’t be pressured)
  • There’s never a good reason to send cash or pay with a gift card
  • Government agencies won’t call to confirm your sensitive information
  • You shouldn’t be getting all those calls

Imposter scams are the most highly reported form of fraud in Georgia, according to the FTC. Telephone and mobile service scams are ranked fifth in the state. Georgia fraud victims have lost a median value of $554 each in 2022, the commission said. A total 23% of imposter fraud victims reported monetary damages to the FTC in the first quarter of 2022.

If you would like to report an imposter scam, you can do so at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

If you have further questions about scams in Georgia, you can contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at (404) 651-8600 or consumer.ga.gov.

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