This might seem like a no-brainer, just common sense, ridiculous that you even mention it but… if you receive a link in a text message don’t click it. Seriously, just don’t.

It’s a common mistake and one that is easy to make. A text message comes in and instinctively we click it, it’s what we do. And that’s what the spammers are counting on, like my mother used to say, “That’s how they get ya.”

These spam related messages usually are in the guise of a special offer of some sort. It could be a prize or a discount, maybe it’s a trip or a gift card, but in any case it is a scam to get you to click on the link.

In most cases the link will take you to a website that does not provide you the promised prizes but instead asks you to fill out a form with personal and confidential information. Warning: never do this.

In extreme cases clicking the link will install malware that collects information from your phone. Once the spammer has your information it can be sold to marketers, it can lead to unwanted charges on your cell phone bill and slow your phone’s performance by taking up space in your phone’s memory. Or worse yet, it could be used by identity thieves.

Bottom line if you receive a link in a text and you don’t know absolutely, positively, without a doubt who it is from do not click.

So what to do if you get one of these texts?

Well the easiest thing is to just delete it. Especially if it asks you to provide personal information; a legitimate company won’t send you a text asking for sensitive information. Defiantly don’t click.

You can also repost the text to your service provider. Copy the original message and forward it to 7726 (SPAM) free of charge (if you are an AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon or Sprint subscriber).

Also, do not reply. Even this could take you to spoof sites that look real but whose purpose is to steal your information. And never give out personal information like social security or bank account numbers. Protect your personal information like a mother hen protecting her eggs. Yeah, I know, terrible metaphor but it works. Just go with it.

And finally place your cell phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry. And check your statement every month for suspicious or unauthorized charges.

So I hope this helps a little. It’s unfortunate the there are people out there who want to take advantage of us unsuspecting, trustworthy folks but with a little knowledge we can thwart their efforts.

So no clicking!