Do not click the link: Verizon investigating spoof texts customers receive from own phone numbers

NEW YORK — Verizon warned customers on Tuesday not to open links found in text messages that appear to originate from their own phone numbers.

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According to a Sunday thread on the wireless network operator’s community forum, numerous Verizon customers have lodged complaints about a recent spike in spoof texts informing recipients that clicking the provided link will allow them to claim a free gift as a thank-you for having paid their March bills, CBS News reported.

One customer pointed out in the forum exchanges that “We can’t block ourselves,” while journalist Chris Welch with The Verge wrote that he was personally directed to the website of Channel One Russia, a state TV network, when he clicked on the provided link, CBS News reported.

The Verizon issue arose one week after President Joe Biden urged private U.S.-based companies to prioritize network security after U.S. intelligence determined that Russian government hackers have most likely breached Ukrainian military, energy and other critical computer networks since invading the neighboring country Feb. 24.

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Earlier Tuesday, Welch confirmed that Verizon responded to his inquiries and blamed “bad actors” for spamming its network from spoofed numbers in recent days but could not confirm that Russian interests are behind the fraudulent activity.

Instead, the company urged customers to simply delete any questionable communications.

“Verizon is aware that bad actors are sending spam text messages to some customers, which appear to come from the customers’ own number,” the company stated, adding, “Our team is actively working to block these messages, and we have engaged with U.S. law enforcement to identify and stop the source of this fraudulent activity. Verizon continues to work on behalf of the customer to prevent spam texts and related activity.”

Welch offered more detail on The Verge.

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