Local police agencies warn of t-shirt text scam

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Several local law enforcement agencies are warning about a new text message scam claiming to sell branded agency T-shirts.

So far, the names of both the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office and the Oneida Police Department have been used in the scam.

The scam involves an attempt to sell a T-shirt featuring the agency’s official patch. People will receive a text message with the agency’s name and then “shirt $10 OFF ready to order now” followed by a link. Police are warning people not to click the link under any circumstances.

“We are not affiliated with this text message, nor the link,” warned the Oneida Police. “Please use caution when clicking on links that you are not familiar with.”

The New York Attorney General’s office warned of a new wave of text message spam in October of last year.

“Most text spam comes in the form of a bogus offer for payday loans, free ringtones, or an opportunity to test a coveted product such as the iPhone. Other text messages may appear as an alert that your credit score has changed, or that you won a free gift card. They will often ask you to “claim your prize” or “sign up to redeem the offer” by clicking on an enclosed link or replying via text,” the AG’s office wrote in a press statement.

“From here, the text spam operates much like a traditional phishing scam―falsely claiming to be from an established legitimate enterprise in an attempt to trick you into surrendering personal and financial information that will be used for identity theft. The link may lead to a website where you’re asked to confirm your name and e-mail address, but eventually, to enter more valuable information, such as your date of birth, mailing address, and/or credit card number. Responding to the text will likely trap you into a paid subscription service,” it added.

The Attorney General’s Office offers the following advice to protect yourself against unwanted texts:

Do not post your phone number publicly. Be mindful when using online forums, chat features, and social networking sites and tools. If you list your mobile number on your Facebook account, check if you have selected “Share my phone number with my friends” which can lead to third party access.

Do not respond to the spam message. Spammers are unlikely to react to your request to “stop” the messages. Replying to the spam number will authenticate your number as an active phone and will likely lead to more spam.

Be selective when subscribing to legitimate text alerts. Many legitimate businesses offer text alerts for coupons, news updates, and more. Because these are often optional, and companies may sometimes share information for marketing or other purposes.

Research all suspicious texts. When you receive a text from an unknown or short code number, you may want to search it on the Internet. If the number is a well known spammer, the search results
will often include consumer reports on the nature of the scam, law enforcers report.

Report all text spam to your carrier.

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