As scam texts become increasingly common, Police say, it's natural to be wary of messages from unknown numbers, especially if they contain web links.
But what if that unfamiliar text could help save a life?
Some Illawarra residents received a text message from police on Tuesday about missing Warilla man Brian Adamson, who was located by a member of the public on Wednesday morning and taken to hospital.
Police use these geo-targeted SMS texts in missing persons cases to appeal for information, sending an automated message to anyone within 5km (in metropolitan areas) or 20km (in regional areas) of the missing person's last reported location.
Superintendent Craig Ireland said members of the public have previously called in the text messages to police, worried they were being scammed, but he wants to reassure people that texts from +61 444 444 444 are the real deal.
Read more: Missing Warilla man Brian Adamson found
"It's a text message sent out to people in the area. Tens of thousands of people can be reached, and they become our eyes and ears," Supt Ireland said.
"That's the technology we're using and members of the public are invaluable. Once they report, we can see if there's any CCTV in nearby areas to support their possible sightings."
Supt Ireland said that some members of the public did call in a sighting following the message.
"We did get some positive results from that, some possible sightings," he said.
Crystal Matui, an Illawarra woman who received a geo-targeted SMS text, was uncertain of the message when she first received it.
"To be honest, it was the link that made me think it was a scam," Ms Matui said.
The message included a link to a picture of the missing man so locals know who to look for.
For those worried that a text from police might be a scam, there are a few ways to tell, police say.
The message will always come from the same mobile number,+61 444 444 444, and the message will always include a link to an image of the missing person, said a spokesperson from NSW Police.
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