If you thought your cell phone was a safe way to avoid being scammed or getting malware, think again. Where there’s technology, there are always horrible people who learn how to take advantage of it to their own selfish ends, and to your detriment. These people, hackers and scammers, want nothing more than to hurt you by stealing your money and information.
The latest way these cybercriminals have found a way to steal your personal data is through a fraud called “smishing.” These kinds of scams compromise your smartphone using SMS (text) messages, stealing your personal info when you tap a text link. Learn about four of the most common kinds of smishing scams, what you can do to protect yourself, and where to go for managed IT solutions to help.
Why Smishing Scams Work
There are a number of reasons why smishing scams work. First, cell users are more likely to tap text links without scrutinizing them like they do emails. The assumption for most users is that text messages are private or at very least from a secured or trusted source. Many of these messages appear to come from your bank or someone else with whom you do business.
Another problem is the mistaken belief that Android, iOS and Blackberry devices are somehow immune to viruses. This is absolutely not the case, and hackers, scammers and cybercriminals are now beginning to target these devices.
The Bank Scam
Among the most popular cyber scams, users get a text message that appears to come from their bank. It claims there’s some sort of emergency and they need to “confirm” or otherwise provide their bank account number to deal with the situation. Providing your bank account number to a scammer is giving them unfettered access to your funds. Remember, no legitimate entity will ever, under any circumstances, ask you to give them your financial information or account numbers.
Toll Call Scams
Another form of scam, this one gets you to call a phone number which charges your bill a per-minute call. These charges can range up to $19 per minute. Of course, they don’t tell you about these charges. They also then might put you on hold for a long time, just to rack up additional charges. Any time you get a request to call your bank or another service, confirm their number by looking it up separately.
Once again, it’s a mistake to believe that your smartphone is immune to malware. When you click on an infected link, your phone can become infected. There are even ransomware programs that can lock your phone and compromise your files. Most of us carry more personal information on our phones than we do on our computers these days.
Cancellation of Service Scams
Another popular scam is when users receive an SMS that claims a service for which they signed up is about to be canceled, or asking them if they wish to cancel a service that they really didn’t sign up for. Clicking these links is a gateway to giving up your personal information.
Protecting against Scams
Protecting against these scams isn’t difficult—treat any suspicious text just like you would a suspicious email. If it sounds like something that’s too good to be true, or looks suspiciously bad, it’s probably a scam. For more information about protecting yourself from scams, and how cyber security services can help you, check out our blog and get in touch today!