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Here's how to respond to an unknown number text to avoid being schemed

The polite thing to do when you get a text from a wrong number is to let the sender know they did not reach the right person. But being nice might be the wrong move.

Wrong number schemes initially look innocent. There are no links, or no request for information or money. But, when you get a text from a number you do not know, it is likely a fraudster. 

The text most often says someone needs to reschedule a meeting, wants to make an appointment, or lets you know an item is ready for pickup.

“The scammers are using automated systems to send out these texts,” said Michael Skiba, a fraud expert known as Dr. Fraud. “They are not even humans beings on the other end of the line. It’s an automated computer. So they’re sending out millions of millions of tests to these various numbers through algorithms.”

Most people automatically reply back saying “sorry, wrong number," but that is not the end.

Once you respond, the schemer knows the number is working and will continue to engage with you.

The conversation keeps going as the stranger tries to become a friend.  

There are various ways these schemes work, but most likely once that person wins your trust, they will offer to help you invest in cryptocurrency. Initially, your investments do well, but when you go withdraw your money, it is gone.

Do not become a victim. Just do this:

“The biggest prevention is to just not respond, to not engage in any manner whatsoever,” Skiba said. "If someone is not in your immediate contact list and texts you, I would not recommend responding at all. I never respond as a matter of practice to anyone that’s outside of my immediate circle that is not in my contact list in my phone.”

Instead, block the number, delete the text and save yourself the money and headache.

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