What’s actually behind these ‘someone complimented you’ texts

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

A text message saying "someone has complimented you" is being received by many, but most don’t know who it’s coming from.

The text also comes with two links for you to follow, one for Apple users and another for Android phones. Recently, a rumor on social media said if you click the links, sex traffickers would be able to find you. So, FOX59 did a little digging and found out what's really behind it.

One of the people who received the text is 12-year-old Aeriale Eaton.

"And I kept on receiving it more and more and then I went to the link and it said when I went to go see what it was it was just this app," Aeriale said.

Aeriale really wanted to know who complimented her but didn't click the link out of fear it was a virus. It's from the app IRL, which stands for In Real Life.

"In real life. So essentially the gist of it is that you would download it, I would download it. It's really kind of harmless great idea to get people together offline using online but again this marketing tactic they're using is a little bit off-putting and a little bit creepy to people," said Tom Jelneck, president of On Target Digital Marketing.

The link prompts you to download the app. FOX59 contacted IRL and they said you receive the text for three reasons: A friend who has you in their contacts added you on the app, invited you or they nominated you on IRL.

As for the sex trafficking rumor, the company said it's not true:

"These claims are absolutely false. We have not had any reports of sex traffickers on our app or targeting our users. IRL is designed to allow communications only between people who know each other and have each other’s phone number."

But for Aeriale's dad, it's just another reason to keep a watchful eye.

"It makes you think. It's a little scary. We do monitor our kids. Three daughters so we monitor all their phones. We take them while they're sleep. If she didn't know that she knows that now," Brandon Eaton said.

The company’s privacy policy states the app does collect information like your location, gender, and email address. If you get the text and you’re not interested just delete it or respond no to opt out.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.