SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A text scam featuring an unknown woman has been reported all over the country. The text messages are another ploy to get your personal information or money, according to cybersecurity experts.
The texts typically come from unknown numbers, often in your same area code. They start innocently enough, like the message Sadie Roussell received.
“[She] asked if I was Ivan. They said their name was Veda and that we matched on Bumble,” Roussell said. “I had never had Bumble, so I already knew it wasn’t me.”
Even though Roussell stopped engaging with the unknown texter, the person kept messaging.
“A lot of them are getting your phone numbers, either through lists they purchase… from places like the dark web,” said Ronnie Rast, a cybersecurity expert with Independent Security Evaluators.
Rast said the goal is always the same. “They're going to try to get money somehow,” he said.
The scammer either tries to win your trust and get money from you directly or Rast said, there is another explicit way in which the crook tries to trick you.
In this scheme, the scammer will sometimes text racy photos. Some might be tempted to text something back just as racy and Rast said, that is where they get you.
“They're going to take that and use it against you and say… I know who your employer is. I have this. sensitive picture of you,” Rast said. “[They’ll say] if you don't send me whatever the amount is that they want, I'm going to share this.”
Experts said the scammers will ask for money in a variety of ways including cryptocurrency, gift cards, and wire transfers.
Consumers reported losing $547 million in 2021 due to romance scams, according to the Federal Trade Commission. That is up nearly 80 percent compared to the previous year.
Experts said as tempting as it is to answer these mysterious messages, the best thing to do is to ignore and report them.
“You might be bored. You might be lonely, but that's not the way to find companionship,” Rast said.
You can report these scams to the FTC at www.reportfraud.ftc.gov.