Experts warn of text message scam that seems to use ‘real’ number

Scammers are sending text messages pretending to be a young woman, asking to hang out or meet up
Published: Mar. 23, 2022 at 10:24 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) - In the last few weeks, several viewers have sent us text messages from a 314 or 636 area code. It’s a picture of a girl with red hair and then a text message that varies. Some messages ask people to meet up, others ask how someone’s night went.

“It was a St. Louis area code, so I thought it was just a wrong number, and she was like ‘I’m in town and was looking forward to seeing you’,” Jenna Carlson said.

Carlson’s a St. Louis resident who received the text message with the same picture of the girl recently.

“I responded and was just like ‘I think you have the wrong number’,” Carlson said.

Carlson told News 4 several of her friends got similar text messages. Now, that same picture with different messages are circling all over. Experts said it’s fishing to get your personal information.

“In our scam tracker, we’ve received several local reports about people receiving this text message,” Sarah Wetzel said.

Wetzel’s with the St. Louis Better Business Bureau. She said the text messages seem harmless, but if you engage, you’re escalating.

“Block the number and erase that text message. Even if you respond ‘stop’ or ‘no, wrong number’, that is just letting them know it’s an active number, and you’re opening the door for more texts in the future,” Wetzel said.

Both Wetzel and Carlson said their biggest concern with this is kids with cell phones falling for the fake text.

“It’s definitely pretty scary because I was dumb enough to even respond to it. I’ve gotten scam texts before, I’m older, so it’s like these kids probably don’t think anything of it, respond. Maybe, a young boy would respond. That’s really scary,” Carlson explained.

The BBB is recommending you talk with your children who have cell phones and make them aware of this chain going around.

“If they do receive a text message, if their children receive a text message, just tell them to block the number and delete it. There is no reason to entertain the conversation,” Wetzel said.

Law enforcement said there is a rumor going around on social media that this text is soliciting sex trafficking. Law enforcement officials and the BBB said there is no proof to back that up, and they just think it’s scammers fishing for information.