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Mike Stunson·3 min read

If you receive an unsolicited text message along with a photo of an unknown young woman, don’t answer it, experts warn.

In the latest text messaging scam, people throughout the United States have been receiving a text — likely from a number with the same area code as their own — from a rather friendlywoman.

“it’s been a little bit since u called, do u want me yet?” one text reads.

Others have received texts with similar phrasing. “What’s up handsome! I had so much enjoyment the other night. What do you feel ab round 2?” another reads.

Many of the texts include a selfie of a red-haired woman, likely in her 20s or 30s ⁠— except that’s not who is actually sending the text.

“I did a double-take,” Pam Anson, the director of brand outreach for the Better Business Bureau serving Greater Cleveland, told WOIO. “It’s a different approach than most scammers take and I didn’t think anything too seriously until more of my friends started to say that they also received it.”

One theory that has circulated on social media is that the scam is related to sex trafficking. One viral post says that by responding, the person on the receiving end “can track your location.”

But that’s not accurate, says Ron Pierce, president of IT company Trinity Solutions.

“It’s a spam text message,” Pierce told WFMY. “It’s kind of one of those social myths, it gets circulated every now and then. This one has been going around since at least 2020, and maybe even a little before. Then it used to be just the whole sex trafficking angle, but now it’s, ‘watch out, they could track you.’ It’s a lie, they can’t track you by responding to the text or clicking anything like that.”

That’s not to say answering the wrong-number text isn’t without some risks, however. By responding, you confirm to the scammer that your phone number is legitimate and they are able to get additional numbers, says Robyn Householder, CEO of BBB Middle Tennessee.

“Once they have access to your phone, then they have access to your contact list,” she told WSMV. “One victim makes it a good day for them.”

(editor:)

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