Ashley Moody warns about malware-loaded robotexts

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Scammers are turning more to texts because they can be infected with malware.

Robotexts have surpassed robocalls as a nuisance, and they’re potentially worse because they can be loaded with one-click malware to infect and invade phones, Attorney General Ashley Moody warned Monday.

“These automated text messages are now more prevalent, and potentially more dangerous, than robocalls since malicious links can be clicked on directly in a text,” Moody said in a news release issued Monday. “These links often contain malware that can be instantly downloaded to a phone. Any interaction with this type of text will show the scammer that the phone number is active, making the targeted user vulnerable to further messages. Consumers should be wary of opening or clicking links in unrecognized texts.”

Americans are projected to receive 86 billion robotexts in 2021, Moody said in a news release issued Monday. Based off recent trends, Floridians alone are expected to get nearly 5 billion spam calls this year, making Florida one of the most spam-texted states in the nation.

The activity has increased more than 30% over 2020.

The Federal Trade Commission runs the National Do Not Call Registry — a list that a citizen can sign up for to help eliminate telemarketing texts and calls to a phone.

To avoid falling victim to illegal robotexts, Moody offered these additional tips:

— Avoid answering texts from unrecognized numbers.

— Do not click on links in text messages from unknown numbers as they often contain malware or lead to malicious websites.

— Consider downloading text and call blocking apps to further prevent these scam texts from reaching a phone.

— Know suspicious text messages from a five to six-digit short code telephone number may be a scam.

— Report scam robotexts and robocalls to the FTC’s fraud reporting site.

Moody recently led an effort to stop illegal robocallers from misusing legitimate phone numbers to get around FTC technology implemented to stop robocalls from concealing their identities. Fifty other attorneys general signed on.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]


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