How to Scare a Text Scammer: Tips and Tricks for Staying Safe in 2023

Fighting back, learn how to scare a text scammer

We may earn a small fee from the companies mentioned in this post.

Scaring text scammers may sound like a daunting task, but with the right knowledge and techniques, it can become an empowering experience that protects both you and your loved ones. In this blog post, we will delve into the world of text scammers, explore their objectives, and learn proactive and reactive strategies on how to scare a text scammer. The journey towards a safer digital life starts now!

How to Scare a Text Scammer – A Short Summary

  • Understand text scammers’ objectives and take steps to protect yourself.

  • Utilise proactive measures such as ignoring, reporting, and using spam blocking apps.

  • Strengthen personal security by educating yourself on scam tactics and creating strong passwords with two-factor authentication.

Understanding Text Scammers’ Objectives

Scammer using fake texts on a smart phone - Learning how to scare a text scammer

Text scammers have one clear goal: to acquire your personal information or money through social engineering attacks, often using spam text messages. Recognising and avoiding scam message tactics in text scams is crucial to prevent scammers from obtaining sensitive information (and your funds) that can lead to devastating consequences.

Responding to unsolicited text messages only signals to scammers that your number is active, increasing the likelihood of your number being sold to other malicious entities. It’s essential to stay vigilant and block unwanted text messages from unknown senders.

Social Engineering Attacks

Social engineering attacks manipulate human error to deceive you into divulging sensitive information or executing actions that can jeopardise your smart phone security. Smishing, a combination of text messaging and phishing, is a prime example of a social engineering attack that scammers use to deceive victims into sharing confidential information or granting access to their accounts.

To safeguard yourself from social engineering attacks, be aware of the usual ploys employed by scammers, such as phishing, smishing, and vishing. Keep an eye out for requests for personal information or money, and use strong passwords and two-factor authentication whenever possible.

What is Phishing

Phishing is a form of cyberattack where attackers impersonate legitimate organisations to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information. This is typically done through email, where the attacker sends a message that appears to come from a trusted source, such as a bank or a social media platform.

The email often contains a link that, when clicked, leads to a fake website where the victim is asked to input personal information. Common forms of phishing fraud include email spoofing and website cloning.

What is Smishing

Smishing is a variant of phishing that uses mobile text messaging as the attack platform. The term is derived from “SMS phishing”. Smishing attacks often involve fraudulent text messages that appear to come from a legitimate source.

Smishing attacks work because they can appear very convincing to victims, the methods are also very sophisticated and seem believable to the target. They are often delivered through well-crafted smishing text messages that are designed to coerce the individual into providing private information.

What is Vishing

Vishing, short for “voice phishing,” is a type of social engineering attack where fraudsters use the telephone to deceive individuals into divulging personal, financial, or confidential information. Unlike traditional phishing, which typically occurs through email, vishing attackers use phone calls, often employing caller ID spoofing to appear as a legitimate entity such as a bank, government agency, or other trusted organisations.

The caller may request sensitive information such as credit card numbers, or online account passwords. The goal of vishing is to trick the victim into believing the call is genuine, leading them to share information that can be used for fraudulent activities or identity theft.

Checkout our article on Social Engineering

Common Types of Text Scams

Familiarising yourself with the most prevalent types of text scams can help you stay one step ahead of cybercriminals, whilst understanding how to scare a text scammer. It can also assist when learning technques on how to scare a text scammer.

Common types of text scams include retailer scams, banking scams, and other scams such as freebie scams, threats of violence, and surveys offering a small reward in exchange for personal information.

Retailer scams often impersonate messages from retailers like Costco and The Home Depot, or even the U.S. Postal Service. These messages may offer a chance to take a survey and win a free item, or warn of an undelivered package, all in an attempt to deceive you into parting with your money.

Banking scams, on the other hand, often involve a “Bank Fraud Alert” that requests confirmation of a transaction for a specified amount and requires a response of YES or NO, a tactic frequently used by text scammers to target your bank account.

Remember to stay cautious and report any suspicious messages to your cell phone carrier or the appropriate authorities.

Proactive Measures to Deter Text Scammers

Scam alert received on smart phone

Staying proactive is key to deterring text scammers from targeting you. Measures such as ignoring unsolicited messages, reporting spam texts, and utilising spam-blocking apps can help keep your personal information safe and minimise the risk of falling victim to scams.

One of the best ways to handle dubious text messages is simply not engaging with them. If you’re unsure about the authenticity of a message, it’s better to err on the side of caution and install a spam-blocking app to prevent any further messages from that sender.

Ignoring Unsolicited Text Messages

Avoiding engagement with suspicious text messages is crucial when it comes to protecting yourself from text scammers. Do not respond to messages that appear suspicious or reply with “STOP”. If you receive a message claiming to be from a retailer, it’s a good idea to contact customer service directly to verify the authenticity of the message.

If you receive a message with an attachment or hyperlink, resist the urge to click on it as it could potentially lead to a scam or malicious software. And if you suspect your bank is attempting to contact you, reach out to the number provided on the back of your debit or credit card to ensure the communication is legitimate.

Reporting Spam Texts

Reporting spam texts is an essential step in protecting yourself and others from potential scams. When you receive a dubious text message, it’s crucial to report spam by forwarding it to 7726 (SPAM) and reporting it to the Federal Trade Commission’s website. Timely reporting of spam texts can help safeguard your personal information and deter scammers from targeting others.

Utilising Spam Blocking Apps

Spam blocking apps can be a powerful tool in the fight against text scammers. These apps are designed to block spam calls and filter out unwanted messages, keeping scammers at bay and reducing the risk of falling victim to their schemes. While the National Do Not Call Registry can help limit robocalls and other unwanted calls, scammers may still disguise their numbers to avoid detection.

Installing and using a spam blocking app is simple: complete the installation process from your device’s app store, and configure the app to block certain numbers or types of calls. If you find yourself on the receiving end of a scammer’s messages, block their number from your phone to prevent further harassment.

You may find our articles on smart phone security

Reactive Strategies to Frustrate Text Scammers

A man using selective techniques to protect his smart phone from scammers

While proactive measures can help deter text scammers, reactive strategies can be employed to frustrate them and keep them from successfully scamming others. Engaging in scambaiting activities, disregarding and blocking scam text senders, reporting spam or scam texts, and even assuming unexpected contacts are scams can all be useful methods in the fight against text scammers.

Scambaiting activities involve engaging with a scammer to impede their progress and consume their resources, effectively wasting their time and preventing them from targeting other potential victims. This can be achieved by feigning compliance with the scam without providing any real personal or financial information.

Pretending to Cooperate

One of the most effective ways to counter a text scammer is to pretend to cooperate with them, giving the illusion that you’re falling for their scam while never actually providing any sensitive information. This not only wastes the scammer’s time, but also thwarts their attempts to scam other people.

To feign cooperation, act interested, request additional details, feign ignorance, extend response times, supply false information, and display reluctance. Always ensure that you do not provide any real personal or financial information, and remain vigilant in reporting any suspicious activity to the relevant authorities.

Using STOP Commands

In some cases, replying with a “STOP” command can halt SMS scammers in their tracks and notify your carrier of the issue. However, it’s important to remember that this approach should only be used when dealing with potential scammers, as replying “STOP” to a legitimate marketing text may inadvertently confirm your number’s validity.

It is important to be aware of the potential consequences of replying to a text message with a negative message.

Blocking and Reporting Scammer Numbers

Young woman recieving a scam text on her smart phone

Blocking a scammer’s number is an effective way to prevent further harassment from that specific individual. Additionally, reporting the number to your carrier enables them to take the necessary steps to stop the scammer from targeting others.

By staying proactive and reactive in your approach to text scammers, you can minimize the risk of being targeted and help protect others from these malicious schemes.

Protecting Yourself from Future Text Scams

Mature woman using techniqua to fight back against text scammers

Embracing a proactive and reactive approach to text scammers, along with educating yourself on scam tactics and strengthening personal security measures, will help protect you from future text scams. Gaining knowledge about various types of scams, staying updated on current scams, and understanding how to identify scammer strategies are all valuable techniques to protect yourself from falling victim to these malicious tactics.

By understanding the different types of scams, you can better recognize when you are being targeted.

Educating Yourself on Scam Tactics

Staying informed about the latest scam techniques and trends is crucial in recognizing and avoiding potential threats. Scammers are constantly evolving their methods, employing social engineering attacks like phishing, vishing, and smishing, and using advanced techniques such as spoofing to make their messages appear authentic.

To recognize potential threats, exercise caution when receiving unsolicited messages, especially those that request personal information or monetary funds. Be mindful of messages containing spelling or grammar mistakes, originating from unknown numbers or email addresses, or those that include urgent demands or warnings. Additionally, always double-check the content of your own message before sending it to ensure it doesn’t unintentionally share sensitive information.

If you receive a suspicious message, refrain from responding, delete the message, and report it to the appropriate authorities.

Strengthening Personal Security Measures

Implementing strong passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, and being cautious when sharing personal information online can greatly reduce the risk of falling victim to text scams. A strong password should be at least 8 characters long, containing a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

When sharing personal information online, be mindful of who you are sharing it with and ensure the website or app is secure. Avoid giving out too much personal information, such as your address or Social Security number, and think twice before clicking on suspicious links.

Checkout our article on telephone scammers


In summary, scaring text scammers is an empowering and achievable goal. By understanding the scammers objectives and employing proactive and reactive strategies, along with educating yourself on scam tactics and strengthening personal security measures, you can protect yourself and others from the malicious schemes of text scammers.

When learning how to scare a text scammer, it is important you stay vigilant. The information provided within this blog will help you stay ahead of the criminals and keep scammers at bay!

Frequently Asked Questions

What scares a scammer?

Being reported to authorities, being publicly shamed and receiving too much pushback from potential victims are all things that scare scammers and make them think twice about continuing their illicit activities.

These consequences can be a powerful deterrent to scammers, and can help protect potential victims from being taken advantage of.

How to catch a text scammer?

Be wary of suspicious phone numbers with abnormally long digits, messages about family crises, refund requests, and random prizes. Always delete unsolicited messages and block the sender’s number. Never click on links or respond to them in any way.

What happens if you text back a scammer?

Replying to a spam text message can confirm to the scammer that your number is active, allowing them to sell it to other spammers. This may result in you receiving more spam and scam calls and messages.

To avoid this, it’s best to block and report the number and not reply.

Can a scammer get anything from a text?

Scammers can use spam text messages and phishing techniques to try to access your personal information such as bank details or Social Security numbers, and even download viruses onto your device.

These malicious activities can have serious consequences, so it’s important to be aware of the risks and take steps to protect yourself. Make sure you never click on links in suspicious emails or text messages, and never give out personal information unless you are sure the person or person is right.

What are some common types of text scams?

Common types of text scams include retailer and banking scams, as well as freebie, violence threat, and survey scams offering a reward for personal information.

Retailer and banking scams involve fraudsters sending messages that appear to be from a legitimate business, asking for personal information or payment. Freebie scams offer something for nothing, such as a free gift or prize, in exchange for personal information.

Reference information and external websites – How to scare a text scammer

  1. Action Fraud: The UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime. This site provides information on various types of fraud, including telecom fraud, and offers guidance on reporting and prevention.
  2. Get Safe Online: A leading source of unbiased, factual, and easy-to-understand information on online safety. They provide advice on protecting yourself from scams and fraud.
  3. Citizens Advice: Offers guidance on what to do if you’ve been scammed and how to report the scam.
  4. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA): Provides information on how to recognize and avoid investment and pension scams.
  5. National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC): Offers advice and information on how to protect yourself online, including guidance on dealing with suspicious emails and messages.
  6. Which? Consumer Rights: Offers advice on spotting and reporting scams, including phone and text scams.

These websites provide valuable information on recognizing scams, protecting yourself, and reporting fraudulent activity. They can be a great resource for readers looking to understand how to deal with text scammers and other fraudulent activities.

Website | + posts

With over three decades of experience in the heart of London’s financial sector, I have dedicated my career to the pursuit of robust cybersecurity practices and IT leadership. As a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Chief Information Security Officer (C|CISO), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI), I bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table.

My journey in the field of cybersecurity has not only been about personal growth but also about sharing my insights with others. As an international speaker, I have had the privilege of addressing audiences worldwide, discussing the importance of cybersecurity in today’s digital age. My passion for knowledge sharing extends to my work as an author and blogger, where I delve into the complexities of cybersecurity, offering practical advice and thought leadership.

In my role as a CISO and Head of IT, I have overseen the development and implementation of comprehensive information security and IT strategies. My focus has always been on creating resilient systems capable of withstanding the evolving landscape of cyber threats.

My Master’s degree in Cybersecurity has provided a solid academic foundation, which, when combined with my practical experience, allows me to approach cybersecurity from a holistic perspective.

I am always open to connecting with other professionals in the field, sharing knowledge, and exploring new opportunities. Let’s secure the digital world together.