A new year means a new scam, this time, targeting cell phone users. Like traditional “phishing,” “smishing” schemers often pose as banks or lottery sweepstakes asking customers to contact them immediately about a pressing issue that needs to be discussed.
Victims of the bank scam are often asked to call a toll-free number and provide information, such as their debit card or account number and password, to a fake automated system. Victims have complained they have received text messages claiming their bank account is frozen with a toll free number to call to clear things up.
“These hackers are looking for you to respond with vital information that can ultimately lead to identity theft,” said Kim States, BBB President. “In the cases of the lottery ‘smishing’ scam, hackers want you to wire over money before receiving your ‘prize,’ one of the biggest red flags of a ‘smishing’ scam.”
Text messages such as “Win cash now!” and “Short on cash? Reply here!” are all red flags that a lottery sweepstakes “smishing” scam is in the midst. Many of these messages come with embedded links that can ultimately spread viruses to the phone if clicked.
The Better Business Bureau advises consumers to do the following if they suspect they have fallen victim to a “smishing” scam.
Never reply to the text message. Schemers are preying on victims that text back and ultimately verify that the text has been sent to an active cell phone. If the message has a link in it, never click it. (more…)