According to the Better Business Bureau, this is how the scam works. You receive a text that reads something like this: “Hey is this John? It’s Amanda. We chatted on Tinder before when I came to visit my cousin but we never met. I’m back in town if you want to meet up this time, are you free?” If you reply to a text like this, even with a polite, “Sorry, wrong number,” the stranger responds anyway, seemingly ignoring your answer. Usually, you’ll receive a few compliments and some photos of “Amanda.” However, as the word gets out about this scam, scammers will change up the names, backstory, and photos.
If you continue to engage with this stranger who in actuality is a chat bot, attempts could be made to get you to register to for adult dating websites. You will then be asked to use your credit card to sign up which considering the nature of the scam could lead to potentially fraudulent charges or identity theft.
The Good News is there are some tips that may protect you. –
- Ignore texts from strangers. If you receive a text from someone you don’t know, simply don’t reply. It’s the safest route. If you engage with a scammer, even briefly, they will mark your number as active and you could receive even more shady texts in the future.
- Block numbers that appear to come from scammers. Unsolicited texts that look like they come from a chat bot or that ask you to click on suspicious links are probably not safe. Block these numbers to prevent scammers from contacting you through them again.
- Never give your personal information to strangers. Never share your credit card or banking information, your full name, home address, or social security number with someone you never met in person.
If you’ve spotted a scam (whether or not you’ve lost money), report it to BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can help others avoid falling victim to scams. Find more information about scams and how to avoid them at BBB.org/AvoidScams.