How to Know if You Got a Virus Through a Text Message

by Josh Biggs in Mobile on 9th December 2021

Though not as prominent as computer viruses, smartphone viruses aren’t uncommon. They’re a serious problem that can not only cause harm to your device, but they can make your life a living nightmare. Once a phone has a virus, depending on the type, you can experience anything from slow operations and increased phone bill charges to your bank account being drained and your identity stolen.

Yet, if you’ve received a potential virus through a text message, it’s preventable for the most part. All you have to do is think before you act. The best way to deal with the situation is to become familiar with how viruses can come through messages, how to react, and what to do to curtail future issues.

What to Know About Text Message Viruses

Text message viruses are usually sent by spammers through computers. They target a wingspan of people in hopes that someone will latch on. If you’re not careful, responding to a message or clicking on a link can activate a virus.

How Viruses Occur

Typically, activating a virus requires two key players: the person sending it and the recipient who triggers it. The sender could have gotten the recipient’s number randomly, from an email address, IM account, other spammers, or through a number of other means.

Spam messages target people in two predominant ways. The first relies on offers that seem too good to be true, like:

  • No interest or low-interest credit cards
  • Winning cash or big-ticket-item prizes
  • Awarding individuals government grants
  • Student loan assistance offers
  • Foolproof investment opportunities
  • Free deals such as gift cards or products

The second way spammers find their victims is through fear, sending scare-tactic notices such as:

  • Suspicious account activity
  • Jail time for non-payment
  • Fake package deliveries 
  • Fictitious purchase invoices
  • Payment information problems
  • Civil action for non-compliance

Maybe a person is confused or thinks the spammer has sent a message to the wrong number, so they’ll reply directly. Perhaps they’re in a rush, overlook the warning signs, and dive right into following the given instructions. People can be afraid or excited, too, not taking a moment to think about what’s going on. Any sort of reaction puts the ball in motion for a virus issue to occur.

Signs You May Have a Virus

There are several things to pay attention to that indicate your phone could have a virus problem, including:

  • Odd and increased charges on your phone bill
  • A slow phone with low memory space
  • Unauthorized banking transactions
  • Bizarre email or social media account activity
  • Increased spam messages
  • Evidence of identity theft 

Precautions Against Getting Viruses

The best thing you can do to prevent getting a virus through text messages is to ignore the messages. Don’t respond, and don’t click on any links. Links can lead you to sites that may look official, but they’re not. It’s important to remember that legitimate companies will never ask for personal information via text. If you suspect a message is a scam, call the company directly to ask them about it, but don’t use any contact information from the text to do so. 

Other measures you can take to avoid potential future scammers and viruses consist of:

  • Refraining from providing any information
  • Using your settings to block unwanted numbers
  • Adding yourself to the Do Not Call Registry
  • Going with a third-party call blocking app
  • Reporting spam to your cell phone provider

Final Thoughts

Only reply to messages from people you know and numbers you’re familiar with from the companies you trust, like those who use If something seems suspicious or out of the ordinary, just take a moment to think about the situation before you react. Never forget that your best response to an unfamiliar text is no response at all.

Categories: Mobile