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Scammers are texting you from your own number now, what to do about it



Have you been getting weird text messages lately — from yourself?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone, and you’re probably not having an out-of-body experience. The latest trend in spam text messages involves mobile phone users receiving texts from what appears to be their own phone number.

The messages typically claim to be from the user’s wireless carrier, referencing the recipient’s wireless bill and including a link to a “free gift.” Spoiler alert: The link leads to potentially malicious websites instead, according to users on Reddit and Twitter.

It’s all potentially very confusing. Here’s what you need to know about these spam texts, and what you can do about them:

Why am I getting these texts?

On Monday, The Verge reported that the phenomenon appears to only affect Verizon Wireless customers. A Verizon spokesperson confirmed the issue in a statement to CNBC Make It.

“As part of a recent fraud scheme, bad actors have been sending text messages to some Verizon customers which appear to come from the customers’ own number,” Verizon spokesperson Rich Young said. “Since uncovering the scheme, our company has made a significant effort to limit the current activity.”

Young noted a recent uptick in spam text messages across all wireless carriers, and said Verizon is “actively working with others in our industry and with U.S. law enforcement as part of an investigation aimed at identifying and stopping these fraudsters and their illegal actions.” 

Robokiller, a company that makes a mobile app to block spam calls and texts, said it had tracked more than 5,000 incidents of the same-number spam text messages over the past week, as of Thursday. 

According to Robokiller, typical versions of the spam texts feature messages that say, “Free Msg: Your bill is paid for March,” along with a dubious link that claims to offer a free gift. In other cases, the spam message includes a link that claims to take the recipient to a Verizon survey, according to CNET.

A writer for The Verge noted that clicking on the link in one particular message took the writer to the website for Channel One Russia, a television network run by the Russian government. “We have no indication of any Russian involvement” in the spam texts, Young said.

A spokesman for AT&T told CNBC Make It: “We are monitoring this situation closely and have not seen anything similar on our network.” A spokesperson for T-Mobile did not immediately respond to CNBC Make It’s request for comment.

What about other kinds of spam texts?

The recent spate of same-number spam texts comes amid a rise in overall spam texts received by U.S. wireless customers in recent years.

Last year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) warned that spam texts have been rising during the Covid-19 pandemic, with scammers more likely to prey on desperate Americans suffering from health or financial hardships. Robokiller said Americans received a total of 87.8 billion spam text messages in 2021, a 58% increase from the previous year.

Spam texts are often referred to as SMS phishing, or “smishing” attacks, where scammers try to trick wireless users into sharing personal information or clicking on malware-ridden links. In some cases, spammers trick your phone’s Caller ID to make it seem like a text or call is coming from a local or government-associated number, a practice called “spoofing.”

In the case of the same-number spam texts, it appears that “bad actors” are even able to spoof recipients’ own numbers – adding another layer to the process.

What can I do about it?

Security experts suggest that you should always be wary of answering phone calls or text messages from unidentified or unknown numbers. 

The FCC adds that you should “never share your personal or financial information via email, text messages, or over the phone.” The agency also advises against clicking on links or attachments you receive in any text message, and to call your friend who texts you a link before clicking, to make sure they weren’t hacked.

Verizon offers similar advice for dealing with potential phishing attacks involving suspicious texts. The company says you shouldn’t respond to suspicious messages at all. Instead, Verizon advises customers to forward spam texts, particularly those claiming to be from Verizon, to S-P-A-M (7726). 

You can also report potential spam texts and emails to government agencies and law enforcement, including filling out the Federal Trade Commission’s online fraud complaint form and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

If you do click on a malicious link, experts say your best bet is to avoid entering any information, and disconnect your device from the internet as soon as possible. Then, go into your device’s settings, check for any apps you don’t remember downloading and delete them.

You can also use an antivirus app to scan your device for malware, and change the passwords of any accounts you think may have been compromised. If you think any of your personal or financial information might have been compromised, you can also freeze your credit for free, to avoid potential identity theft.

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Boeing to slash about 2,000 white-collar jobs in finance and HR, report says



Boeing expects to slash about 2,000 white-collar jobs this year in finance and human resources through a combination of attrition and layoffs, the planemaker confirmed to Seattle Times newspaper on Monday.

Last month, the Virginia-based company announced it would hire 10,000 workers in 2023, but some support positions would be cut.

Back then Boeing acknowledged it will “lower staffing within some support functions” – a move meant to enable it to better align resources to support current products and technology development.

“Over time, some of our corporate functions have grown quite large. And with that growth tends to come bureaucracy or disparate systems that are inefficient,” the newspaper quoted Mike Friedman, a senior director of communications at Boeing as saying. “So we’re streamlining.”

Boeing did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment. 

Last year, Boeing said it plans to cut about 150 finance jobs in the United States to simplify its corporate structure and focus more resources into manufacturing and product development.

Watch CNBC's full interview with Boeing's Dave Calhoun

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Trump appeals sanctions for ‘frivolous’ suit against Hillary Clinton



presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton attend campaign rallies in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, October 10, 2016 and Manchester, New Hampshire U.S., October 24, 2016 in a combination of file photos.

Mike Segar | Carlos Barria | Reuters

Former President Donald Trump and one of his lawyers said Monday they are appealing nearly $1 million in sanctions imposed on them for what a federal judge called their “frivolous” lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and more than two dozen other defendants.

The court filing about the appeal came days after a lawyer for Trump and his attorney Alina Habba told the judge in the case they were willing to put up a bond of $1,031,788 to cover the costs of the sanctions while the federal Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit considered the matter.

In imposing those sanctions Jan. 19, Judge John Middlebrooks said in an order, “We are confronted with a lawsuit that should never have been filed, which was completely frivolous, both factually and legally, and which was brought in bad faith for an improper purpose.”

Trump’s suit, which sought $70 million in damages, accused Clinton, former FBI officials, the Democratic National Committee and others of conspiring to create a “false narrative” that Trump and his 2016 presidential campaign against Clinton were colluding with Russia to try to win the election that year.

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Middlebrooks in September dismissed the lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and barred Trump from refiling the complaint.

He later ordered Trump and Habba to pay more than $937,000 in sanctions.

Middlebrooks in his sanctions order called Trump “a mastermind of strategic abuse of the judicial process,” and a “prolific and sophisticated litigant who is repeatedly using the courts to seek revenge on political adversaries.”

A day after Middlebrooks issued that order, Trump voluntarily dropped another lawsuit he had pending before the same judge against New York Attorney General Letitia James. That suit was related to James’ pending $250 million fraud lawsuit against Trump and his company in Manhattan state court.

Jared Roberts, the lawyer for Trump and Habba, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC about the appeal.

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Nissan to buy up to 15% stake in Renault EV unit under reshaped alliance



Pavlo Gonchar | LightRocket | Getty Images

Nissan and Renault on Monday unveiled details of their redesigned alliance, with the Japanese car maker committing to buy a stake of up to 15% in Renault’s electric vehicles unit Ampere.

The alliance junior partner Mitsubishi Motors will also consider investing in Ampere, which Renault aims to list, the companies said in a statement.

“Nissan’s intention is to invest up to 15% in Ampere, Renault Group’s EV & Software entity in Europe, with the aim to become a strategic investor,” the statement said ahead of a presentation in London.

The companies had already announced that under the deal to revive their long-standing alliance the French carmaker would reduce its stake in its Japanese partner to 15% from around 43% now.

Renault will transfer 28.4% of Nissan shares into a French trust, making the two more equal partners in the alliance.

Sources close to the matter said the agreement aimed to make the alliance freer and more balanced for the next 15 years.

The partnership will produce synergies from joint projects in Europe, India and Latin America, and the companies will work together in Renault’s flagship EV business, electronics and solid-state batteries. 

Renault will have flexibility to sell the Nissan shares held in the trust but “it has no obligation to sell the shares within a specific pre-determined period of time,” the statement on Monday said.

When it does sell, “Nissan would benefit from a right of first offer, to its or the benefit of a designated third party.”

The two companies last month announced a sweeping remake of their 24-year-old automaking alliance, which was thrown into disarray by the ouster of its architect and former chairman, Carlos Ghosn, amid financial scandal.

That announcement came after nearly four months of intense talks complicated by concerns about the sharing of intellectual property as Renault sought tie-ups with companies outside their alliance.

Renault’s board approved the deal on Sunday night, according to a source. Nissan’s board also approved it early on Monday, the source said.

Investors and analysts will be looking for more clarity on how the trust in which Renault will place the bulk of its Nissan stake will operate.

“There is absolutely no word about what’s going to happen to those shares in the trust,” said CLSA analyst Christopher Richter. “It seems they’re all avoiding the issue of Nissan buying them back which I think would be the best thing for all parties involved.”

Richter said Renault’s brand is not seen as being a strong brand, so it may be tough for the French carmaker to raise money for Ampere.

“I wonder once this thing goes into the market how much money you would really raise, he said. “That’s why I think they’re going to push Nissan to pay too much.”

The unequal relationship between the two carmakers had long been a source of friction among Nissan executives.

While Renault bailed out Nissan two decades ago, it is the smaller automaker by sales.

CLSA’s Richter said that the revamped alliance could enable Nissan and Renault to work together on R&D, shared costs and a few shared products “with a little bit less rancor and acrimony between them,” but added that Honda and General Motors <GM.N> have built a partnership that includes jointly developing lower-cost EVs together without any need for a capital relationship.

“One almost wonders what’s the point of them having any stake in either one, any stake at all,” Richter said.

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