Have you ever received an odd text from the wrong number? Normally, you respond by letting them know it’s the wrong number and they either don’t respond or they say “oops sorry!” and the interaction concludes. But what if they keep texting you? It seems weird, but why would it seem weird? Yes, they’re a stranger, but strangers can be thought of as friends we haven’t met yet. However, this isn’t how strangers become friends. You have no idea who is on the other end and what their intentions are for you. In this article, we’ll discuss the wrong-number scam that has been spreading rapidly within the past few months.

So what’s the wrong-number scam? It goes something like this…

Out of the blue, you’ll receive a text message that without context doesn’t make any sense. The text will say something like “Would you like to come over for dinner tonight? I’m making chicken curry!” or “Hey we met on bumble a while back, how have you been?” Once you’ve alerted the person that they have the wrong number, they’ll say something like “I’m sorry, I really hope you can forgive me”, which sounds like a bit much for a wrong number apology, but then they’ll try to continue the conversation.

They may send you a “selfie” which is likely not actually who they are, but regardless they will try to begin a conversation with you on a more personal level. They seem to want to make friends with you. If you continue the conversation, eventually they’ll tell you a story in which they are unable to get the money they need to live, pay bills, help sick relatives, etc. The end goal of this scammer is to get you to send them money, once they have the money, their goal has been met and they’ll likely disappear if they don’t think they can get any more money from you.

What to do if you receive a wrong-number scam text:

When scammers send you these messages, they’re very carefully crafting the wording that they use. They use specific wording and phrasing to try to play off of your own natural curiosity. Here are some ways to avoid getting caught up in a wrong-number scam:

  1. A good rule of thumb is if you don’t know the number, and the message does not pertain to you, it’s probably not for you and maybe a scam.
  2. If you decide to respond to the wrong number to let them know they indeed have the wrong number, do not continue interacting with them afterward. They have the wrong number, so there’s really nothing you can do to help them from here. It’s somewhat similar to how an adult won’t ask a child for help, a stranger won’t text another stranger for help.
  3. If the person doesn’t stop contacting you, especially after you’ve told them to stop, take screenshots of the conversations as evidence, block the number, and contact your local police department to file a report. They may not be able to help at the moment, but collecting evidence from your interactions may help locate the individual contacting you.

If you’ve been contacted by a wrong-number scammer, you’re not alone. This type of scam is the next evolution of text and phone scams that scammers are developing. The best way to keep yourself safe from this type of scam is to know the signs of a wrong-number scammer and understand that a stranger that texted the wrong number isn’t likely going to continue the conversation. After all, what do they think is in it for them if they’re not a scammer?

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