If you ever get a text message from someone you do not know, never respond or click on the link! Scammers are always on the lookout for new ways to get your personal data and your hard-earned money.
With the current Covid-19 crisis instilling fear in all of us, scammers are taking advantage of this situation masking as government agencies and well-known brands to send out fraudulent text messages to unsuspected people asking them for personal information, money for test kits, offering financial support in exchange for bank account information, and other phony offers.
One example (shown below) of these fraudulent messages notifies people that they have been in contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19 and displays a link. When the link is clicked, it can potentially download a virus on their smartphones that provide scammers access to sensitive information, including personal contacts and even financial information.
Other fraud messages include promising financial support in addition to the government stimulus funds, fake Covid-19 home test kits, as well as bogus offers from scammers masking as large companies like Costco giving away money as shown in the example below from FBI San Diego’s Twitter account.
How to Avoid Text Message Scams
Because scammers do not actually have any customers, they try to compile or build their own phone number lists using their own algorithms, so there is a chance that you may have received a similar message.
If you receive a call or text message from a number you do not recognize, even if it shows that it is coming from a government agency or large brand, follow these guidelines:
- Do not respond to the text message or call. Government agencies or companies will never ask you for personal information over the phone or text.
- Never click on any link that is in the text message. This may download malware that can access the information on your phone.
- If you want to verify the sender, enter the phone number in Google to see the owner and origin. Or you can contact the “sender” from their official website or social media account to verify the message.
- Do not accept any offers for free Covid-19 prevention or treatment from an untrusted source.
- Block the phone number on your phone so you do not get the message from that number again. You may need to do this several times as scammers will sometimes use multiple numbers.
- File a complaint with the FCC (Click here to file a complaint).
What TrueDialog is Doing to Prevent Text Message Scammers
Text message scammers will often either build their own software to send text messages or utilize a texting provider. However, we at TrueDialog put security first for our customers and are always improving our safety measures to block scammers from creating accounts to send fraudulent messages.
Using proprietary software, the TrueDialog system can identify and block potential phishers, bots, spammers, fraudsters, and high-risk users for our text messaging service based on several factors. This includes email authenticity, domain history, past scam and spam history, location, and suspicious activity patterns including previous incidents.
These security measures provide many obstacles scammers have to overcome before they are able to create an account in TrueDialog. TrueDialog goes through additional screening processes once an account is created should one make it through our initial line of defense. We have identified and blocked hundreds of suspicious accounts from being opened since the current crisis has escalated, and thousands over the past 12 months. We will continue to improve these security standards to protect US consumers from getting scammed.
Text messaging is an important channel for legitimate businesses to connect with their customers and employees. Our goal at TrueDialog is to keep the integrity and purity of text messaging so everyone can benefit from the experience.
To learn more about how TrueDialog can help you improve customer communication with text messaging, SCHEDULE A DEMO or SIGN UP FOR FREE TRIAL TODAY!
The Covid-19 pandemic is dramatically impacting businesses worldwide. Companies and governments are mandating that employees work from home, so managers need to implement best practices for remote employees. Thankfully we have the necessary technologies to maintain our daily lives and sustain communication with customers and employees – we need communication more than ever.
Here are three ways your business or organization can communicate effectively during the Covid-19 crisis.
Text Message Notifications
The text inbox is a special place for most people and in times of social distancing and remote workers, it is more important than ever to help people feel connected to each other and their companies.
Remote employees can feel lonely and disconnected. This is a very new development for millions of employees nationwide and companies need to use every available communication tool to reduce anxiety and build connections. A well-written and heartfelt text message can create a much-needed personal connection with other employees and management. Fortunately, sophisticated texting platforms exist today to enable personal communication at scale with 2-way text conversations as well as mass text message notifications.
When you want to update customers and employees on the status of your business, the quickest way is to send text message notifications. With a 98% open rate, text notifications are much more effective than voice and email to reach your audience.
Many businesses are sending text message notifications for:
- Updates on the impact of Covid-19 on their business
- Work from home schedules
- Status of business closure
- Where to access important information
- Friendly messages that create a positive feeling of connection to the organization
When sending text message updates, be sure you are prepared to respond to questions. By designating a person or a team as the main source of information, organizations can ensure customers and employees are fully aware of the current situation to help reduce anxiety and create a feeling of connection.
Virtual Phone Systems
Given the rapid expansion of this crisis, many companies have been forced to simply forward business lines to employee personal phones to conduct business calls. This can lead to rising cell phone bills for remote employees at exactly the moment they need to cut costs and can also reduce professionalism for the business.
To maintain remote employee productivity and professionalism, businesses need to implement a virtual phone system where business phone numbers can be accessed through personal smartphones.
A virtual phone system enables remote employees to leverage their business phone number and extension to keep work calls separate from personal calls. Advanced virtual phone systems provide important features such as auto-attendant, call routing, professional greetings, interactive voice response, call forwarding, voicemail to email and many other features to keep businesses running smoothly during this time.
It is critical to separate personal calls from business calls and maintain the professional reputation of businesses as they move to a remote workforce. These systems are very quick to set-up and surprisingly affordable – some at just $12/month. The best platforms are cloud-based, easy-to-use and highly scalable as remote employees continue to increase.
Businesses have been using web conferencing tools for years, but during this current crisis, web conferencing is soaring as most meetings around the country have become virtual. It’s even more important than ever to stay connected to your team members. Web conferencing keeps the personal touch of an in-person meeting and enables more collaboration through video and screen sharing.
To ensure your web meetings run smoothly, test your web conference software with colleagues to ensure audio and video clarity. After all, a web meeting is useless if others cannot see you or hear you. Have a backup software in place to ensure meeting do not get canceled or postponed due to technical issues. Free services like Google Hangout is a great backup alternative in those cases.
Some employees may miss meetings for various reasons, so make sure to record your web conferences and transcribe the contents of the meeting so you and other members of your team can access it and review later.
Bonus Tip: Recently, many conference companies have become overloaded, especially at meetings or calls that start at the top of the hour or half-hour. Schedule your call to start at an odd time – like 1:07 pm to mitigate this issue and improve the odds that your event will not experience technical issues due to the enormous increase in the volume of virtual meetings.
Maintaining solid lines of communication can help all of us get through this tough time. The tools and strategies highlighted in this article will help you manage an efficient remote workforce, create a sense of connection/community with your employees and customers, and keep your business operating as smoothly as possible during this Covid-19 crisis. Stay courageous and careful out there. We all have to do our part to get through this together.
Helpful resources for communication during Covid-19
Text message notification solution: Get a free trial of TrueDialog.
Cloud phone system for your remote employees: Get a free trial of VoiceShot.
Free web conferencing tool: Check out Google Hangout.
covid-19, remote employee communication