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Text scams: Why you shouldn’t answer ‘Hi, How Are You?’ text messages from strangers


June 17, 2024

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Text scams: Why you shouldn’t answer ‘Hi, How Are You?’ text messages from strangers

Have you ever received a random text message from a stranger greeting you with a single “Hello” or something like “Hi, How are you?”

Despite seeming innocuous at first, this general conversation starter could launch a bigger plan to scam you. In this article, we explore the dangers of answering this type of unsolicited text and offer some tips and tricks on how to avoid the scammers’ net.

Let’s begin by discovering how scammers and cybercriminals can get a hold of your contact information. Here are some of the most common ways they obtain your mobile phone number:

  • Data breaches: large-scale breaches impacting online platforms and organizations can hold vast amounts of customer information, including phone numbers.
  • Public sources: phone numbers can easily be found in public directories or on social media platforms where users share contact details.
  • Purchases: scammers buy lists of phone numbers from data brokers or hackers
  • Social engineering and phishing: Scammers trick users into giving away their contact information

Scammers send this type of text to begin conversations or relationships with victims. They set the bait with a friendly greeting such as “Hi, How are you?” in an attempt to manipulate recipients into divulging confidential data. The scammer will be extremely friendly and even apologize, all to build rapport with the recipient and eventually ask for money and sensitive information.

Want a quick and easy way to find out what the internet knows about you and whether or not your phone number and other sensitive information have been exposed in a data breach or leak? Use Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection to receive real-time alerts if your personal data appears on the dark web and prevent identity theft.

What are the risks of responding to ‘Hi, How Are You?’ texts

1. Exposure of personal info. Scammers might attempt to extract sensitive information from you

2. You become a target for more sophisticated attacks. Responding to an unsolicited text message tells scammers that your phone number is active, allowing them to target you with scams and phishing attempts.

3. Phishing schemes. Extended interaction gives a scammer time to phish for sensitive information including bank details and passwords.

4. Malware. Scammers may also send you links that lead to credential-stealing Trojans and spyware to compromise your device, accounts and data.

5. Identity Theft: Attackers may attempt to siphon personal information and impersonate you in various identity theft crimes.

6. Financial loss. Replying to unsolicited text messages is usually linked to fake investment opportunities and requests for money from the sender.

7. Emotional and physical distress. Engaging with unsolicited texts can lead to emotional stress, particularly if the sender begins threatening you or uses other intimidation tactics.

7 Ways to Best Handle Unsolicited Texts

  1. Don’t respond. If you don’t recognize the number and it’s unsolicited, ignore and delete the message.
  2. Block the number. Your smartphone should have the option to block unknown numbers to prevent additional messages from the scammer.
  3. Report the message: Report the number to your mobile carrier and the FTC.
  4. Don’t click on links. Never click on links in messages from unknown sources, as they could lead you to malware or fake websites that harvest your information and passwords
  5. Never transfer money or share sensitive data. No matter what the unknown sender says or promises you, never give into demands for money or send gift cards.
  6. Use Security Software. Install a security solution on your device to protect against threats stemming from unsolicited messages
  7. Use Scam detection tools. Unsure of a request received via unsolicited texts? Ask Scamio, your personal scam detector assistant, about it.

Scamio is free and available on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and your web browser. You can also help others stay safe by sharing Scamio with them in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Romania, Australia, and the UK.


1. Who’s sending these messages?

These unsolicited text messages can come from various sources:

  • Scammers and spammers looking for new victims
  • Automated systems that send out mass texts to thousands of individuals
  • Genuine people who may have entered the wrong number

2. Can these messages be dangerous?

Unfortunately, yes. Responding to them can expose you to phishing, romance scams, malicious software and identity theft.

3. Can a scammer hack your phone by sending these texts?

No. Receiving an unsolicited text message cannot directly hack your phone. However, clicking on unsolicited links or providing personal info can lead to a malware infection

4. What if I accidently responded?

If you’ve responded, don’t panic. Take these steps instead:

  • Stop any communication with the individual
  • Monitor your accounts and change passwords if you’ve shared any sensitive information
  • Notify your mobile carrier and law enforcement if necessary

5. Why am I getting so many unsolicited texts?

You may receive these messages if:

  • Your number is part of a leaked database from a data breach
  • You’ve shared your number online or in public directories
  • You’ve filled out online surveys




Alina is a history buff passionate about cybersecurity and anything sci-fi, advocating Bitdefender technologies and solutions. She spends most of her time between her two feline friends and traveling.

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