Many of us have long ago tired of the phone calls we receive that appear to be coming from a number similar to our own. Now this has made the transition to our text messages – and from your same number, but only if you use Verizon as your cellular service. Some Verizon customers have reported receiving spam texts from their own numbers, while Verizon is blaming these actions on “bad actors.”
Verizon Customers Reporting Spam Texts
The texts Verizon customers are receiving look in every way like messages they have sent to themselves. Not only is the sender their name, but clicking on it takes them to their own contact card.
The messages in the spam texts mention a free gift, presumably from Verizon, and a link. A Twitter user’s message read, “Free Msg: Your bill is paid for March. Thanks, here’s a little gift for you,” followed by a link.
Customers of Verizon’s MVNO, Visible, are also receiving these messages. But this isn’t happening with any other carrier – yet. It won’t be too surprising if copycat spam texts start popping up from other carriers.
While it’s surprising to get a spam text from your own cell number, it’s also surprising where the links appear to be originating from: Russia. It’s not advisable to click on the link, but some people have. One journalist clicked the link for “investigative purposes.” Clicking on it took him to a Channel One Russia website. Other reports of these messages also mention Russian websites.
Verizon Blames “Bad Actors
Verizon reacted to the news that its customers were receiving spam texts by blaming “bad actors” and noting it had enlisted the help of law enforcement.
“Verizon is aware that bad actors are sending spam text messages to some customers, which appear to come from the customers’ own number,” stated Rich Young, a Verizon spokesperson.
“Our team is actively working to block these messages, and we have engaged with U.S. law enforcement to identify and stop the source of this fraudulent activity. Verizon continues to work on behalf of the customer to prevent spam texts and related activity.”
Regarding the possible connection to Russia, Verizon said, “We have no indication that this fraudulent activity is originating in Russia.”
Because carriers other than Verizon and its MVNO do not seem to have been affected, there is some speculation that the attack is much more sophisticated than typical spam or a breach from inside Verizon. Yet, Young pushed back against that.
“We believe this activity is being generated from external bad actors with no direct tie to our company,” said the spokesperson. Yet, Verizon doesn’t seem to have a handle on it yet, as it appears it is still happening.
It cannot be stressed enough: If you get such a text, do not click the link. Your best bet is to either report it to SPAM (7726) or simply delete it.
If you’re a parent and worried your children willreceive spam texts on their phones, learn how to enable parental controls.
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