BBB Scam Alert: A wrong number can lead to a bad romance scam

Published 1:37 pm Friday, March 18, 2022

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The Better Business Bureau is advising area residents to be wary of unsolicited text messages appearing to come from wrong numbers. These communications often appear to use a photo of a young woman who is trying to text a friend. They may be a premise to a more sinister “romance scam” or a way for con artists to simply collect working cell phone numbers for future scam attempts.

“I did a double-take,” says Tom Bartholomy, CEO of the Charlotte BBB. “It’s a different approach than most scammers take and I didn’t think anything too seriously until more of my friends started to say that they also received it.”

A quick search on and Google Images reveals other users on the internet who reported receiving the screenshot.

“It’s obvious that the scammers are trying to elicit a response, such as sympathy, to this woman for receiving a fake number from a friend but we need to remind consumers that appearances can be deceiving.”

Better Business Bureau is providing these additional tips for local consumers who are looking to steer clear of text messaging scams.

Be Skeptical – Strangers on the internet can pretend to be anyone. Question motives behind both solicited and unsolicited messages.

Check for Spelling and Grammatical Errors – While not all scammers have poor grammar, many fraudsters are located off-shore do. Carefully check over communications and analyze them for any inconsistencies.

Guard Personal Information and Photos – Scammers may try to solicit personal information through methods such as cold calls, text messages, or emails. Be mindful of this, and always verify, when possible, the organization or individual you are speaking to through a third-party or video conferencing software. Also, remember that any photo you upload on social media can be stolen and used by a scammer.

Better Business Bureau recommends individuals who have been scammed via a text message to report the incident immediately to law enforcement and the Federal Trade Commission. For additional romance scam resources visit

Additionally, victims can report scams, regardless of whether or
not they have lost money, to These reports can help others avoid falling victim to fraud.