How To Avoid Text Message From Your Boss Scams
If you receive a text message from your boss and something doesn’t look quite right, it may not be. The message could be a scam. Text messages that are supposedly from your manager but are really from a scammer are on the rise, along with many other job and employment-related scams.
These types of scams are called smishing. Scammers try to get someone’s personal information by attempting to get them to respond to a text or online message.
Here’s information on how scammers use workplace text messaging, examples, how to figure out if a message is really from your boss or a scam, and what to do if you’ve been scammed.
How Boss Text Message Scams Work
The way this type of messaging scam works is that you’ll receive a personal text message that says it’s from your boss, a member of your company’s management team, or even the CEO. How does the scammer know who your boss is?
One easy way is by checking out the company on LinkedIn. When you click on a company profile, then click on people, you can see the employee’s profiles. The scammer can view everyone with a LinkedIn profile, including the management team.
The scammer could get your phone number from your LinkedIn profile if you have it listed. Or they may have hacked a company directory or otherwise found your phone number online.
Scam Text From a Manager Examples
The scammer then impersonates your boss and asks you to do a task that involves sending money. For example, “Hi John, this is Mary, I’m out of the office and on a call, but I need you to do me a quick favor.” Or, the message could be more formal: “Hi John, this is Carey Underland. I’d appreciate your help with our client, Turnly Associates.”
The scammer may then ask you to buy a gift card, for example, or send money to a third party. If you respond affirmatively, you may be asked to click on a link, order gift cards, transfer funds, or otherwise send money, which will go to the scammer.
Before you respond, think twice. There aren’t many circumstances where a manager would ask you to do any of those things via text.
How To Check the Message is Legitimate
Here’s what to do if you’re concerned that the message you just received is a scam:
- Confirm the message is from your boss. Don’t respond to text messages from unknown numbers. If you receive a text message from a number you don’t recognize, don’t respond. If you think it really could be someone from your company, check via your company messaging system, email, or phone to verify the identity of the person contacting you and confirm it’s them who is texting you.
- Confirm the request in the message. It could be a scam if your boss has never texted you this type of request or asked for information via text. It’s very unusual for company management to ask an employee to send or spend money, especially by text.
- If you’re not sure, report it. If you receive a suspicious text message from someone claiming to be your boss, immediately report it to your company’s IT department or HR team.
How To Avoid Boss Text Message Scams
Here are tips to avoid text messages that are supposedly from your boss but are really scams:
1. Don’t respond to text messages from unknown numbers. If you receive a text message from a number you do not recognize, don’t respond. If you think it could be someone from your company, check via your company messaging system, email, or phone to verify the identity of the person contacting you.
2. Don’t give out personal information. Your boss (or anyone else) should never ask you for your Social Security number, bank account information, credit card information, or any other sensitive information by text. If you receive a text message that asks for this type of information, don’t respond. Instead, contact your boss to verify the request and ask for a secure way to provide the information if it is legitimate.
3. Don’t click on links in messages. Scammers often use links in text messages to direct people to malicious websites. If you receive a text message with a link, do not click on it. Instead, contact your manager to verify that what they are sending you is legitimate.
4. Be aware of the latest scams. Scammers are constantly coming up with new ways to steal your information. The Federal Trade Commission has a list of the latest scams you can use to stay up-to-date.
5. Listen to your gut. If your gut tells you this request doesn’t look right, listen to it. Even if it sounds like a legitimate request, it may not be.
How To Report a Scam
If you think you may have been the victim of a work-related scam, notify your employer right away. They can warn other employees to watch out for scammers and may be able to advise you on how to handle it.
Contact your bank or credit card company immediately. They can advise you on what to do.
You should also file a report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You can report the scam to the FTC online or by phone at 1-877-382-4357.