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Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Ridgewood Warns Parishioners of Text Scam

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Ridgewood, is urging parishioners to not reply to text messages from Father Ron requesting a favor. Father Ron would never communicate such a need in that manner.

A “TXT impersonation scam” refers to a type of fraudulent activity where scammers impersonate legitimate entities, such as a company or a government agency, through text messages (TXT) in order to deceive and defraud individuals. These scams typically involve the sender pretending to be someone trustworthy and reliable, using various techniques to manipulate recipients into providing sensitive information, making payments, or taking other actions that benefit the scammers.

Here’s how a typical TXT impersonation scam might work:

  1. Initial contact: Scammers initiate the scam by sending a text message to the victim’s phone number. The message may appear to come from a well-known organization, such as a bank, a mobile service provider, a government agency, or a popular online service.
  2. Deceptive content: The scammers craft the text message to create a sense of urgency, fear, or excitement, enticing the recipient to take immediate action. They may claim that there is a problem with the recipient’s account, a pending legal issue, an outstanding payment, or an exclusive offer that requires immediate response.
  3. Manipulative techniques: Scammers employ various techniques to deceive the recipient and gain their trust. These may include using official logos, using convincing language, providing a fake call-back number, or referencing personal information that they may have obtained through other means (such as data breaches or online information).
  4. Request for sensitive information or payment: The fraudulent text message typically asks the recipient to provide sensitive information, such as account numbers, passwords, Social Security numbers, or credit card details. Alternatively, they may request an immediate payment through a specific method, such as wire transfer, prepaid cards, or cryptocurrency.
  5. Consequences: If the victim falls for the scam and provides the requested information or makes the payment, the scammers can then exploit the acquired data for identity theft, financial fraud, or other malicious purposes. In some cases, they may continue to target the victim repeatedly or sell the information to other criminals.

To protect yourself from TXT impersonation scams, it’s important to be cautious when receiving unsolicited messages, especially if they request sensitive information or demand urgent action. Here are some tips to help you stay safe:

  1. Verify the source: Be skeptical of any unsolicited messages and independently verify the sender’s identity by contacting the official organization directly using their verified contact information (e.g., their official website or customer service number).
  2. Be cautious with personal information: Avoid sharing sensitive information via text message unless you are absolutely certain about the legitimacy of the request. Legitimate organizations will generally not ask for sensitive information through insecure channels like text messages.
  3. Don’t click on suspicious links: Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited text messages, as they may lead to malicious websites or attempt to download malware onto your device.
  4. Report and block: If you receive a scam text message, report it to your mobile service provider and block the sender’s number to prevent further contact.

By staying vigilant and exercising caution, you can protect yourself from falling victim to TXT impersonation scams or any other form of fraudulent activity.

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