How To Deal With Bit.ly Text Message Spam
Have you ever received a text message with this content John said to send this to you followed by a bit.ly link? If you have, the odds are you were a target of a scam attempt.
Bitly is a legitimate online service that shortens the size of URLs making them easier to share elsewhere. Unfortunately, scammers behind spam text messages and fraud attempts abuse this tool to mask the links to their websites that have just one goal—to steal your money or private information.
The risk gets even bigger if a company that you trust uses Bitly as this can make you trust the message implicitly and open the included links.
What Do Bit.ly Links Look Like?
Links that were shortened on Bitly usually follow this format: http://bit.ly/SLhdI9. While the usual formula involves a random combination of lowercase and uppercase letters and numbers, it is not a rule.
Some companies keep recognizable text in their links (like the Australian website Pickr that uses http://bit.ly/listentothewrap). This strategy makes the source more trustworthy as the plague of spam texts from email addresses and group spam texts keeps gaining momentum.
How To Unmask Links From Bit.ly Spam Text Messages
If you can’t discern whether the bit.ly link you received in a text message is safe or not, you can use this neat strategy to verify it:
- Copy the link from the text message by tapping and holding until you see the option Copy
- Paste the link into any web browser, but don’t hit Enter or Go
- Add the sign + to the end of the link so it looks like this: http://bit.ly/SLhdI9+
- Hit Enter to go to a preview page for the link
If a Bitly link that you unmasked with this method was reported before, you will be taken to a page with a message This link has been flagged as redirecting to malicious or spam content and the link’s real destination. The users who initially created the link before it got corrupted can see more data including:
- How many people clicked on the link?
- Which countries do they come from?
- What communication channels were used to distribute the link, etc.?
Why Do I See a Warning Page After Clicking on a Bit.ly Link?
Since Bitly struggles with scammers abusing their service, they try to proactively block suspicious links for the following reasons:
- The link leads to a malicious copy of another website
- Bitly detected inappropriate or unsafe content
- The destination link is hidden behind a link shortened by using another service
- A user or a blacklisting service reported an issue with the destination page
What To Do If You Click on a Bit.ly Link by Accident
If you click on a bit.ly link from a text message and see a warning page, you’re advised to:
- Close your browser as soon as possible
- Disconnect from the internet by turning off your Wi-Fi connection
- Inform the person who sent you the text using a different messaging channel
- Scan your device with an antivirus and anti-malware software
- Back up important files to an external hard drive, cloud, or USB
- Change passwords for your email, online banking, and social media accounts
How To Report Bit.ly Links That Direct to Spam
Bitly relies on regular users to report links that seem suspicious or lead to spam websites to ensure the safe use of their services. If you want to report a malicious bit.ly link, you can do it by following these steps:
- Open the Reporting Abuse of Bitly Links form in a web browser
- Provide your email address and the issue you want to report
- Paste the link from the bit.ly spam text message
- Enter your name and add any comments you may have
- Hit Submit
Their security team will investigate further and mark the link as harmful if necessary.
Protect Yourself From Bit.ly Text Message Spam With DoNotPay
There are many services and third-party apps that can help in your crusade against spam text messages, but DoNotPay can help you turn the tables on scammers and get compensation. Scammers’ main goal is to take your money so they hide behind fake emails and masked links. Our app can find out who is behind those malicious messages and assist you in demanding compensation.
The process of fighting scammers with DoNotPay is safe, easy, and convenient. You can start by creating your account in a web browser or downloading our iOS app. After getting that spam text message with a suspicious bit.ly link, exact your revenge in the following way:
- Log in to your account and select Robo Revenge
- Hit Create Your Card
- Enter the virtual credit card details on the website the link leads to
- Uncover the identity of your scammers when they attempt to charge the card
- Use DoNotPay to file a lawsuit against them and get compensated
Using our virtual credit cards comes with no risk because they are not connected to your bank account and cannot be charged. When the scammer tries to abuse the fake payment information you entered on their website, you can find out their contact details in the Blocked Transactions section of our app.
Other Apps for Blocking Bit.ly Text Message Spam
The threat coming from spam text messages, calls, and emails is a well-known fact since Americans lose billions per year on scams that use these communication channels. It’s no wonder that many third-party apps developed their tools and features for fighting this pest. Check out the table below for the most popular spam blockers:
$1.99 per month/$19.99 per year
$3.99 per month/$29.99 per year
$3.99 per month/$24.99 per year
More Tips To Limit the Risk From Bit.ly Text Message Spam
Since we live in a world of spam pandemic, your best protection is precaution. Here are additional tips on how to protect yourself from text messages that mean trouble:
Google the number that sends annoying ads before unsubscribing by replying STOP
|Don’t respond to spam texts—you will mark your number as valid and risk more spam|
|Check if your number is on the National Do Not Call list|
Don’t click on links that look suspicious
Don’t stay online if you click the link from a text message accidentally
Install anti-malware software
|Don’t react to urgent messages before verifying them with the sender using other channels|
|Learn about the CAN-SPAM Act and how it applies to text messages|
Don’t trust promises of free vacations or lottery wins
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