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Ask Asa: Text Message Scammers Pose As Friends In Need

Warning: If Someone Named 'Sara' Asks You To Respond Think It Through
(credit: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Thieves disguised as friends in need of urgent help are sending out text messages that could help them steal your personal identity and your money.

People around the country have received text messages from a “person” named Sara, asking “are you going to call or what?” Those who responded were connected to strangers.

Experts told CBS 2’s Asa Aarons that the number originates from Rhode Island. If you return the call, it could be costly.

“Basically they are trying to trick you into sending SMS messages to numbers that have charges, so money will trickle back to them,” explained Justin Cappos, a professor of computer science & engineering at NYU-Poly.

Customers who have responded to these messages should check their cell phone bills carefully — expensive texts and calls may be showing up soon.

Experts say that cell phones are an easy target because people tend to act impulsively when using them, and may miss certain details when looking at a small screen. BlackBerry has already warned its users against responding to these messages.

If there is something that you would like to ask Asa about you can contact him here.