How to Reply to a Text Message Scam

Most of us usual just ignore text message scams — but maybe we shouldn’t. Maybe we should do what this unnamed guy or gal did, because his or her hilarious reply to a text message scam is quite possibly one of the greatest SMS series of all time. For reals, you guys. It’s amazing, even if it turns out to be a hoax like everything else on the Internet.

Here’s how it went down:

Some fellow going by the name of “Harris” contacted our anonymous hero via text message. Harris said that he represented a Fortune 500 company, and that had an offer on the table that would allow his mark to earn $5,000 a month working from home. Now, it is in fact possible to make a perfectly comfortable living working from home (hi there, fellow freelancers!) — but any message that begins like Harris’ is pretty much guaranteed to be a scam.

But Harris? It looks like you chose the wrong mark. The troll proceeded to get trolled as the mark turned the tables, sending reply after reply, with each one getting more and more ridiculous as it went. “Congratulations! You have successfully subscribed to Interest Facts of the Day!”, the first reply read; it continued, “Here is your daily fun fact! A human’s cells replace themselves over a span of 7 years. So every 7 years, you’re essentially a clone of yourself!” before adding “To unsubscribe from Interesting Facts of the DAY, please send UNSUB IFOTD.”

Naturally, Harris replied with the unsub code… but the fun was just beginning. The former mark, now the master troll, ran rings around Harris, “subscribing” and “unsubscribing” him to pretend services like “Naughty Otters,” “Naughty Dogs,” and, well… maybe you’d better just read the whole thing. Scroll down to check it out, because it's...

The text message chain is reminiscent of the Edd Joseph, the British man who has been getting a long, slow revenge on the guy who scammed him out of £80 by texting him the complete works of William Shakespeare, 160 characters at a time. It’s possible that “Harris” and his tormenter are fake — after all, we have no other context for the story other than the images, and it’s incredibly easy to fake a text message screenshot these days—but that doesn’t make it any less brilliant. Scammers exist; they’re awful; and they do sometimes go after people via text.

A number of alerts about text message scams went out this summer, from one claiming that the recipient has won a $1,000 gift card to a whole bunch of different ones plaguing T-Mobile’s network. It’s not too hard to spot a scam, though; generally if it seems too good to be true, it is. Look out for these five signs that a text is a scam and stay sharp.

Here’s the entire lengthy exchange between the ill-fated Harris and his clever opponent. Get ready to laugh!

Images: Zawzome/Flickr; Giphy; Imgur