Identity Theft Scams Through SMS Phishing Attemps
Smartphone Users Beware!
Last month, Amanda Prischak with Erie Insurance published a very informative article titled “Are You Being Smished?” We liked this article so much; we decided that we should share it with our clients. Her article was designed to inform readers about the dangers of identity theft through SMS and phishing, also known as “smishing.”
We live in the era of the smartphone, where people are constantly text messaging and using their phones to access their bank accounts, PayPal, and GPS services to get from one place to another. It’s no wonder that scammers have gotten more sophisticated in their fraudulent schemes. The smartphones make consumers an easy target for scammers to smish. They contain very private information, such as home addresses, bank accounts, PayPal information, and much more.
We have all gotten a text message from an unknown source, sometimes it’s a strange number, other times no number is displayed. These text messages generally state “congratulations, you’ve been selected to win XYZ, click here to claim your prize” or “your ABC Bank Account has been compromised, please click the link below to verify your information.” If you respond to the message or click on the link the scammers will gain access to all of the private information you have stored on your phone. This greatly increases the odds that you will become a victim of identity theft.
So, what can you do to protect yourself from smishing? Avoid clicking on any links in text messages you receive from an unknown source. If the message contains the name of a business or bank, call that business to verify that the message is legitimate. Be sure to keep the security software on your smartphone up to date to help reduce the spam and deter scams. Finally, report suspicious texts to Federal Trade Commission or send the text to 7726 (SPAM) to have this number blocked in the future. By doing these things, smartphone users can stay one step ahead of the scammers who are trying to steal their identities.