If you are reading this, most probably you have a mobile phone and with high probability had received spam texts. You’re not the only one. It might be something you signed up for, something promotional or from someone random. The fact of the matter is, we all get spam.
Nowadays, there is a new kind of spam texts. However, cyber-criminals are the ones behind it to trick unsuspecting victims to divulge sensitive information about them.
It is relatively easy to fall for these tricks, but here are few things you need to remember to avoid being a victim of this text scam.
It is called smishing or SMS phishing. It is relatively similar to the email phishing scams you receive in your email inbox, but instead the scammer does the same trick via text messages. Sounds simple right? but people get their guards down since they do not think of is as being similar to email text scams.
People tend to have a sense of urgency if they receive something on their phone compared to emails. They think it is important if they receive a text message.
When you get a smishing text, you’ll likely see something asking you to call a phone number, or, even worse, click a link to address an issue by providing your bank account, smartphone data plan or some other form of highly personal information.
It might ask you to call a phone number and end up talking to someone. These people will ask a lot of information and ask a lot of personal information that you would end up answering. if you click on the link embedded in the text message, this would take you to a fraudulent website meant to make you think it’s from something like your bank, wireless service provider or sometimes the Internal Revenue Service.
It might also be a malware-laced link that could infect your smartphone. In the event you input your personal information on the website, the cyber-criminals may have the opportunity to take over your private accounts.
Say, for example, you give your login information for your smartphone data carrier. A criminal could then use that to capture your account and steal your phone number. They could then use that to bypass other forms of security you use, like text message-based and two-factor authentication, to protect your online accounts.
This is not to scare you, but it someone steals your information, they can take control of some of your private accounts or even certain parts of your life.
Just like your emails, the best way is to simply ignore any text message you get from numbers you do not recognize. In some instances, some scammers can spoof their numbers to appear as though the message is coming from a number you might recognize.
Just to be on the safe side, simply avoid opening links specially if they are asking for your login information. If asked to call a number, do not do it.
If you think you received fraudulent texts or calls, contact your wireless carrier or the institution the person on the other end of the line claims to represent. From there, you should be able to figure out if they are legitimate or not. Most of the time, in reality, it would be a scam.
In the event that you have opened the link, make sure you download a legitimate anti-malware app for your smartphone and run it immediately to find if there are any threats that might have been downloaded to your phone.
As a final reminder, always be vigilant. Think before responding and clicking to these text messages.
So remain vigilant. And, above all, take a second before opening that text.