There’s an insidious scam making the rounds that could possibly target you or someone you know. Here’s the scenario:
You’re having a conversation with a friend when he tells you that a mutual friend has been talking trash about you. You tell your friend that you know that person well, and you don’t believe he would ever say anything like that about you.
“Hold on”, he says, “I have proof!”
He then proceeds to pull out his smart phone and show you a long string of text messages that he supposedly received from your mutual friend, each of which says something nasty and untrue about you.
You simply stand there in a state of shock, unable to believe what you just saw with your own eyes.
Well, you might very well have reason to disbelieve it, because the text messages you just saw could easily be fake. This scam has been spreading for a while now, thanks to several apps in the Google Play Store that make it ridiculously easy to fake a text message.
Unfortunately the number of fake text messages being “received” has risen sharply in recent months, primarily due to a new app called “Fake Call & SMS”. Anyone with a compatible Android phone can download the app for free and begin “receiving” fake text messages (and fake calls for that matter) within seconds.
(Note: For obvious reasons I’ve decided not to link to the app.)
The “Fake Call & SMS” app is extremely easy to use. Basically, all you have to do is load the app, enter a person’s name and mobile phone number (or simply select a contact from your contact list). Then type the “message” you wish to receive and select a time for it to be delivered (as soon as 15 seconds).
When the selected time rolls around, the fake text message will land in your inbox and you’ll receive the normal alert. It even goes into your message log.
These fake messages are impossible to detect because they look and behave exactly like normal text messages. In fact, the fake messages and log entries will remain even if the app is deleted.
Some apps will even let the scammer and the “other person” carry on a lengthy fake conversation, exchanging multiple fake messages back and forth.
Bottom line: Just because someone has “proof” in the form of a text message, that doesn’t mean the “proof” is real. As President Ronald Reagan might say, “Trust, but verify!” Always be prepared to take what you read on someone else’s phone with a grain of salt, especially if you have reason to believe what you’re reading can’t possibly be true.