GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — You may have recently seen a viral post warning you not to respond if you receive a text from an unknown number with a picture of an unknown woman.
One post has more than 10,000 shares and hundreds of comments. It claims to be a sex trafficking warning. Several law enforcement agencies in the Triad couldn't confirm it's related to sex trafficking, but people are getting the text. There's also a concern that if you reply, your location can be tracked.
A cybersecurity expert said when in doubt, delete.
"It's a spam text message," President of Trinity Solutions Ron Pierce said. "It's kind of one of those social myths, it gets circulated every now and then. This one has been going around since at least 2020, and maybe even a little before. Then it used to be just the whole sex trafficking angle, but now it's, 'watch out, they could track you.' It's a lie, they can't track you by responding to the text or clicking anything like that."
Pierce said it's important to not respond.
"Any text that pops up on your phone that you didn't solicit or you haven't been in communication with or (is) not in your contacts, the initial response is to leave it alone, delete it, and block it," Pierce said. "You don't want to risk it, especially if there is a link to it."
One Triad woman, Molly Allman, said she received the text recently and deleted it immediately.
"When I first got it, I was like, 'That's a little weird," Allman said. "Honestly, my initial reaction was to just delete it because I get spam phone calls all the time, and text messages not as much, but I get a lot of spam phone calls and normally I just decline it and I blocked the number."
If you ever receive a text like that, law enforcement said simply don't respond and never give out any personal information.