It's a little after 7 A.M. on a Friday morning and my phone buzzes twice, letting me know I've gotten a text message. Being that it's a Friday, and still too early for my wife to text, I figure it's a co-worker. NOPE, imagine my surprise when I opened up the text message to a half-naked woman named Jen, who wants to meet up as she will be in Minneapolis this weekend. It turns out that Jen isn't just hot to trot for yours truly, as a quick Google search of the random number shows she's been missing quite a few guys lately. It's just the latest phishing scam going around. 

After using a company computer to google "random number texts picture of half naked girl scam" I stumbled upon this Reddit thread from 6 months ago that sounds pretty familiar.

Image Credit: Reddit via user darkknight95sm

"I just got a text from a girl wanting to hook up with a photo of her in her bra. I tell her wrong number and she continues to say she wants to “get together” and I am actively showing no interest. It really sounds like a porn ad, “meet local women”, and sends me to this site realprivatecam.com and I am like “nope!” Was wondering if this was just something they do and how they got my number, I stay of webcam sites? I don’t get it and I can’t find number on a reverse number finder site."

If you respond to the text message, which I didn't, the sub-Reddit users talk about being sent a link to an adult website. I'm sure there's a lonely guy out there that may just go for it, but in reality it's probably not a safe move. The FTC advises if you get a suspicious text message from an unknown number or from a financial institution you should just NOT respond.

Why not respond? Well, at least two bad things might happen if you do:

  • Responding to the text message can allow malware to be installed that will silently collect personal information from your phone. Imagine what an identity thief could do with the information from an online banking or credit card management app. If they don’t use your information themselves, the spammers may sell it to marketers or other identity thieves.
  • You might end up with unwanted charges on your cell phone bill. Depending on your service plan, you may be charged for sending and receiving text messages, even scams.

You can file a complaint with the FTC over the unwanted text messages here.