It can be emotional and frightening when you realize a bad guy just contacted you. Whether a phone call, text or email, it can be unnerving when you are a target or worse if you are the victim of a scam. Be assured, you are not alone. Too many people fall for these scams, otherwise the bad guys would get real jobs and leave us alone.

What should you do if you are contacted by a potential scam?

It can be as easy as remembering these three steps.

  1. Don't Panic. Be smart and don’t engage. If you get a calltext or email you believe is a scam, hang up or delete the message. Don’t try to outsmart the bad guy or think you’re being cute by playing along for a time. The longer you talk with him or her, the more likely you are to accidentally share some detail or information they can use. And if you reply to an email or text, you confirm they have a working number or email address. All this empowers them, and they may become very persistent.
  2. Don't be embarrassed. In most cases, you were not specifically targeted. Bad guys have many methods to reach a large number of people and they are very adept at their con games. They are convincing and take advantage of how busy and distracted we all are in our daily lives. And if you do fall for their tricks, the next step becomes very important.
  3. Report it. Begin by alerting any financial institutions or account owners who may be affected. Change passwords on accounts to protect them. Let your carrier know the phone number the call or text came from, or the email address used to send you the phishing email. At AT&T, we can block the number and will work with law enforcement to go after the bad guy. Here’s how to get us the info:

-Report suspicious calls to our Fraud Department here.

-Forward a suspicious email to abuse@att.net.

-Forward a suspicious text to 7726.

If you’re not sure how to forward a text, here are the steps:

  1. Open the message on your phone.
  2. Press and hold on the message until a list of actions pops up.
  3. Select “forward message.” (Then you may also have to click the forward arrow.)
  4. Enter 7726 when prompted in the “forward to” field.
  5. Click the “send” arrow to forward the suspicious message.

You may also report suspicious activity to the FTC and Anti-phishing working group.

These steps will not only help you protect yourself, but also help protect others. Working together, we can strengthen our security.