I received a very obscure text message this morning asking me to click a link your-jpg.com. First off, anyone texting me at 5:54 in the morning is either A) working the same morning schedule I am and they’re probably looking to vent, B) they have the wrong number, or C) they’re a lunatic.
Regardless, the text I got was from none of the above. Well, perhaps C. We’ll get to that.
It was clearly a scam.
But this scammer threw me a curve ball. It came from the 612 area code. That’s Minneapolis, St. Paul, Minnesota. That’s where I’m from and my personal cell phone begins with 612. So that may be a hint as to how this scam works.
I knew right away it was some sort of scam. Any time you see a link in a text or email from a sender you’re not sure about – the first question you should ask is: Why am I receiving this? Were you expecting it? Does the timing match up to something specific? Is the domain relevant to something you’re familiar with?
The text I received simply stated:
talk to me on your-jpg.com by the way
It was an odd message. These types of spam messages are so common. They try to play off your curiosity. ‘Someone is saying bad things about you‘ or ‘Hi, hot stuff, check out my picture‘ are ones you’ve probably received, and maybe even fallen for. It’s annoying and ultimately, a big headache.
Why You Shouldn’t Click the Link
Don’t worry, you can click on that link and it won’t take you anywhere. But I DIDN’T click on the link because doing so could cause a whole host of problems:
- Spyware or adware could be installed to your phone
- You could be added to a list somewhere, selling some thing
- You could unknowingly install something to your phone that extracts data
- You could open up your address book to the sender and allow them to use your contacts to move their tainted message
So when in doubt, don’t click. If someone really wanted to get a hold of you and send you a link that you absolutely click, they’ll send again and be more clear as to why you should care.
Dissecting the Scam
I am still investigating what this scam is all about and why I received it. If you click on the link (which you shouldn’t do), it’ll take you to a dating website. It’ll ask you to verify your age. It also offers an option to remove your phone number from their list. This is concerning. Many times, if you enter your number in a removal box, it can sometimes backfire and the scammer could add you to a new list. New lists mean more spam. More spam means angrier human. We don’t want that.
The same goes with email. Many times if you get a spam email, you’ll notice it’ll have a link at the bottom to ‘unsubscribe’. With any legitimate company email, it would be fine to unsubscribe. In fact, it’s a rule that email marketers much follow. They have to give you an option to unsubscribe. The problem comes in when scammers send you junk email with links that SAY you can unsubscribe and when you go to do so, you’re added to more lists (unbeknownst to you) and you end up receiving much more junk mail. Sometimes it’s difficult to differentiate the good email from the bad. Fun, right?
Here are some links to some resources discussing this your-jpg.com scam:
- 800Notes: This website tracks down sources of phone scams. This thread gives information from victims of this scam and their personal stories of when they were targeted.
- CallERCenter: This thread has a few examples of people dealing with it. One man claims he called and they wouldn’t take himi off their list. This is key because I received two CALLS after I got the text message. One number was from Pennsylvania at (484)589-5620. I have yet to deal with these people, but I’m sure they’re connected and I’m hoping that they stop before I have to take more action.
- I will be posting more links soon.
Please leave a comment below and tell us about your experience. Thanks again and good luck with the scammers!