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My own phone number is now sending me spam

My own phone number is now sending me spam

This morning, I received a very clear spam text offering a "little gift" to pay my phone bill. Normally I would groan, roll my eyes, and quickly shrug off such a thing, but there was something different about this particular message: It was as fake as coming from my own phone number. As best as my iPhone could tell, this was a valid message for me, for me. Tapping into sender details I was taken to my own contact card.

Equally frustrating was that I had no clear way to report the dreaded spoof to my carrier, Verizon Wireless. Fake calls and text messages are nothing new; Most of the people face a constant flood of spam calls that show up on caller ID from numbers similar to their own. But this was the first time I actually got something from my own number. These scammers keep getting more sophisticated.

Turns out I wasn't alone. More than a few customers on Verizon reported receiving similar spam from their respective numbers over the past few days — also for its MVNO Visible — and several Verge employees on other carriers have encountered them as well. I posted an Instagram story about it and got "similar" responses. SMS phishing, or "smishing," has been on the rise in recent years, but there's something more frustrating and offensive about it being tied to your own number. It's all very "calls coming from inside the house."

The main reaction on Twitter is confusion and "How?!" Again, this is all spoofing and technical impersonation. It is very easy for spammers to camouflage as whatever number they choose. My Verizon account is secure, and my number hasn't been hijacked. If you have also received the same message, then there is nothing to panic. Just don't click on that link.

Still, it often seems like phone carriers are losing the war against scammers. I'm not jealous of having to deal with the massive amount of spam attacks that pop up on their network every day, but it's getting out of hand. I've noticed an increase in general SMS spam over the past several weeks. And as Alex Lanstein noted on Twitter, this particular message contains a number of phrases — "free messaging," "the bill is paid," "gift" — that one assumes are part of Verizon's spam protection systems. will be flagged by And yet it did successfully. And since it showed up as coming from me, the text also successfully eliminated Apple's "filter unknown messages" feature.

So what can be done? In addition to offering various measures of spam protection, Verizon and other US carriers encourage customers to forward spam messages to spam (7726). However, some people may have paused about reporting "spam" from their own number. I've asked Verizon what happens in that situation.

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