Why people are trolling their spam texts

I did not answer, but many others who have received similar texts. Some are throwing it back at their spammers by spinning wild stories and sending hilarious messages to frustrate whatever is on the other side. They are fighting back with snark, and in some cases posting screenshots of their conversations online.

Jack Whittaker, a PhD student in sociology at the University of Surrey, says spam texts are on the rise, and so are the number of people who return by “scambating”, referring to the “criminal act of wasting time.” Which studies the phenomenon. However, experts say that responding can beat the issue, as it opens up the person to more spam texts.


Spam texts that seek to scam their recipients for providing valuable information are not new. Some of the earliest digital spam emails were sent via chain letters, including the most notorious scams in which someone pretending to be a Nigerian prince claimed to need the help of a receiver to make a large deposit.

Once smartphones become commonplace, scammers switch to texting. And in 2022, spam text is more personal. Often they mimic a text written incorrectly, perhaps addressing the receiver with the wrong name or using the usual first line (“How’s it going” or “I’ve had fun tonight!”

If you have recently received any such messages, you are not alone. Professor J. of Colorado State University. “There has been an incredible increase in spam texts,” says Michael Skiba. Globally, 90 billion of them were shipped last year, he says; In the U.S., 47 billion spam texts were sent between January and October 2021, an increase of 55% over the same period in 2020. According to RoboKiller, a spam blocking firm, 2020 86 million was lost in 2020 in the US alone due to scam texts. “People just bombard with this,” says Skiba.

Skiba says there are several advantages to texting over email from a scammer’s point of view: note of phone number raises less than one suspicion from a sketchy email address and the general nature of texting makes grammatical errors less noticeable. Many people also feel a very humane urge to reply to the text. “It’s a psychological trick in which you know the text isn’t correct, but it attracts your desire to help and say, ‘You got the wrong number,'” says Skiba.

The person on the other side, however, mostly works with an organized group of scammers in the call center and hopes that you will say the same. One response is enough for a scammer to verify that the phone number is real. That feedback leads to a domino effect that can invite more spam text on your phone. After all, scammers are looking to at least verify your number to potentially sell to other groups; Getting your personal information is a sweet bonus.

“I would recommend 100% no answer at all,” says Skiba.

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