GREENSBURG – Scam messages have been sent to numerous Verizon Wireless customers claiming that their Pix Place accounts have expired and all data will be deleted if the user doesn’t respond in a timely manner.
One Greensburg resident knew right away that something wasn’t right when he received the message. He’d never used the Pix Place service, which is an online photo album for picture storage. Verizon does provide a photo service called Pix Place, but research on multiple technical forums has unearthed the possibility that many of these text messages are scams from a third party masquerading as Verizon.
Online forum posters and technical support guides state that the text messages are often sent to thousands of customers at once, in the hopes that a fraction of those receiving the message will respond. Once they respond, the scammer has the user’s phone number, which is then sold to companies that deal in spam messages and possibly identity theft.
One glaring red flag that these messages are a scam is the fact that they aren’t sent from a phone number. The messages are sent from the internet, most often from vzwpix.com. If sender information is provided at all, it is usually a four or five digit number instead of a full ten digit phone number. If a Verizon customer doesn’t currently use the Pix Place service and receives the message, that is another surefire sign of duplicity. There have also been reports of cell-phone users who are not Verizon customers but who have received legitimate picture messages from Verizon customers receiving the scam messages.
Several technical support guides state that one can block all messages sent from the web in their Verizon Wireless settings, but multiple postings across many Verizon customer websites report that the blocking system is faulty and doesn’t stop the messages. Legitimate Verizon messages do not incur messaging charges, so if a text or call is claiming to be from Verizon but charges the phone to receive it, most likely, that message is not safe to open. The best option to avoid being scammed seems to be deleting the messages without opening them or responding.