If you've been getting spam texts from what appears to be your very own cell number recently, you're not alone.
While spam texts aren't new, getting one from yourself can be especially disconcerting, and cell phone users are reporting that it's happening a lot lately, especially to Verizon customers. When someone uses technology to disguise their phone number for spam calls or texts, that's called spoofing. It's the same technology that shows spam calls coming from numbers similar to yours, but this time, it's your exact number.
The text of these messages is similar to most spam and includes fake messages from your cell phone carrier about a paid bill. But many people who have clicked on the included link report that it goes to Channel One Russia, a state TV network, or a number of other Russian news outlets.
There has been speculation that the texts might be part of a Russian propaganda campaign as the country continues its invasion of Ukraine. It also comes on the heels of a warning from the White House that Russia may be planning cyberattacks against American infrastructure, companies, or citizens.
Verizon, however, says it has "no indication that this fraudulent activity is originating in Russia," and says it is working with U.S. law enforcement to rectify the issue.
While these texts may be more disconcerting than most spam, they don't mean Vladimir Putin has hijacked your phone. As with all spam, never click included links unless you know and trust the sender. For more information on how to deal with and report phishing and spam texts, go to the Federal Trade Commission's consumer advice website.