Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona is warning of a scam targeting cell phone users. “Smishing,” similar to “phishing,” uses text messages to bait consumers into divulging their personal information.
One form of the scam tricks consumers into believing their bank accounts have been frozen. The text message appears to come from the consumer’s bank and directs the victim to call a provided number to unfreeze the account. The number provided connects to the scammers, who ask for the victim’s personal information – account number, PIN and Social Security number.
The scam can take many forms, such as promising a free laptop, mortgage assistance or lottery winnings. Some texts might even offer a free product, such as a security app, to get you to click on a link which then downloads identity stealing software to your phone. Regardless of the tactic used, the overall objective is to steal your personal information.
According to online security firm Trusteer, cell phone users are three times more likely to fall for fake messages than computer users.
BBB offers these tips from AARP on how to protect your personal information from smishing texts:
- Do not reply. Replying to a spam text only verifies that your number is active, meaning more messages can be sent.
- Check with your bank directly. Separate from the text, look up your bank’s phone number and (more…)