A few weeks ago, I received a text message on my phone. It was not my editor or a friend in a different time zone. It was a message from me.

Your bill is paid in March. The text from my phone number read, "Thanks, here's a little gift for you."

In the last month, I have received a number of such texts. Many customers have reported the same experience in online forums.

It was clear to me what was happening. The scammers used internet tools to trick phone networks into thinking they were texting from me. It was similar to the way that phone calls are made to appear as though they are coming from a real person. If I had clicked on the link, I would have been asked for my credit card number, which could be used for fraud.

Consumers have struggled with cellphone spam for a long time, primarily in the form of phone calls with people pretending to be them, and leaving fraudulent messages about late payments for student loans, audits by the IRS, and expired car warranties.

Experts said that mobile phone fraud has shifted to texting. Not just your own phone number is being used to send junk texts. There were more scam messages sent in March than in February. According to an analysis by Teltech, that rose 20 percent in the same period.

The text issue was being investigated by the company. On Monday, it said it had fixed the problem.

Representatives for AT&T and T-Mobile said they had not seen the same problem. Cell phone carriers now offer online resources for how to protect themselves from text-messaging abuse.

Text scam involve getting you to cough up your personal data with messages that are not real and are just a ruse to get you to give up your information. Teltech said that their rise has been fueled by the fact that messages are easy to send. Government efforts to crack down onrobo calls may be pushing scam artists to use text messages.

The vice president at Teltech said that scammers are always looking for the next big thing.

What to look out for with text scam and what you can do.

According to Teltech, the most common text scam is a message that looks like it is from a company that is offering a shipping update on a package.

In the last week, I have received messages that said a big-ticket item meant to get my attention could not be delivered. An anti-aging skin cream was advertised. There is a product that cured brain fog.

There are telltale signs of a fraudulent text.

  • There are phone numbers that are 10 digits or longer. Commercial entities usually use four-, five- or six-digit numbers.

  • The message was intended to circumvent the wireless carriers.

  • The links in a scam text look strange. They are web links that contain sentences or phrases, like droppoundsketo.com. URL masking is when you use a fake web link to get to a different website that asks for your personal information.

Never click on a link or file in a suspicious message.

Don't reply to that message either. If you type "stop" into your phone, it will indicate that your phone number is active.

To report a scammy text, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon all offer the same number to forward the messages to. The carrier wants to know the phone number that the message came from.

Teltech's TextKiller is meant to help if text spam becomes overwhelming. The app scans messages from phone numbers that are not in your address book and blocks them from being sent to you. If the text is found to be offensive, it is sent to a junk folder.

TextKiller may have been too thorough. In five days, it caught five messages, but it also wrongly filters two legitimate messages, including a message from an AT&T spokesman. I wouldn't recommend paying $4 a month for this app unless it becomes unbearable for you.

There are free tools that can be used to minimize interruptions from text messages. You can open the settings app, tap on messages, and enable an option to "filter unknown senders." That places messages from numbers that are not in your phone book into a separate messages folder. You can open the messages app on your phone and enter the settings to block unknown senders.

The ability to open the settings of a message and block a specific number from contacting you is included in both the iPhone and the Android devices.

If we stop sharing our phone numbers with people we don't trust, we can help prevent the flooding of our phones. The cashier at a retail store will ask for our phone number to get a discount, or an app or website will ask for our digits when we sign up for an account. We don't know where our digits end up.

A better idea is for all of us to carry a second set of digits, which can be created with free internet calling apps, that we treat as a burner phone number.

That way, the next time a scam artist tries to send you a text, it won't come from your own number.