Experts warn about new scam involving texts from your boss

'Boss Scam' texts try to exploit people who are afraid to tell their bosses 'No'

NBC Universal, Inc.

What would you do if your boss texted you to ask you to buy gift cards for a client? The message could be part of a scam dubbed the "boss scam" or the "CEO scam" that begins with a text message sent to your phone.

Two NBC 5 employees received text messages on their personal phones from someone posing as our boss. The text from the fake boss said he was busy in a meeting and needed the employees to buy Apple gift cards for a client. The scammer claimed he was on a friend’s phone.

Luckily our employees didn’t fall for the scam.

Dallas-based AT&T also posted a warning about the "Boss Scam" and said the bad guys are trying to take advantage of two things: how busy people are and how much they value their careers.

Experts said they also try to take advantage of people who are afraid to tell their bosses “no.”

AT&T suggests people be skeptical of unsolicited texts, even those that appear to come from someone they know. Ask yourself if the text was out of the ordinary and if that person would normally ask you to do those things. AT&T recommends that people who receive scam texts not reply because replying only informs the scammer that the number is active, which may open you up to more scam attempts.

Experts said the scammers may find their targets by reverse-engineering a person's social connections. They would first find a boss’ name and then look on a site like LinkedIn to find people who work in that department. They would then search other social media sites, websites, and lists from data leaks to see if the phone numbers of any of those employees are available.

“With the vast amount of information that people are putting out on social media platforms as well as business platforms, they're doing something called link analysis, being able to go to either those platforms or go to websites and then scrape information,” Former FBI agent and Cornell professor Jason Hogg said.

AT&T said people who receive scam texts can do something about it. They can either forward the message to 7726 or click on the "Delete and Report Junk" (iPhone) or "Block" and "Report Spam" (Android) buttons. To learn more about forwarding texts or blocking unsolicited texts, click here.

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