‘Smishing’ Another Identity Theft Scam
Have you ever been “smished”?
Identity theft experts warn us all to be on the alert for text messages with links — they could be an identity theft scam known as smishing. Similar to phishing (which involves email), smishing uses cell phone text messages to deliver bait that’s intended to get you to divulge personal information.
Smishing may involve winning a prize or a message that contains something that requires your immediate attention — the link tells you to “click here.” If you click on the infected link, it downloads malware that allows the bad guys to gain control of your device remotely. They can then use your phone from anywhere in the world to access your banking information, credit card data and the like.
What to do if you receive a text message that asks for sensitive information:
-Do not reply to the message.
-Do not click on any of the links that may be embedded in the message.
-Contact your carrier’s privacy or fraud team. If their company name or brand is used in efforts to fraudulently obtain personal information, they may choose to pursue legal action.
-Contact your bank or financial institution to be sure your accounts have not been compromised.
Visit the FTC Identity Theft website to learn more about how to minimize damage from identity theft. If you believe that you have been a victim of a smishing scam, you can file an online complaint with the Federal Trade Commission’s Complaint Assistant.
The bottom line:
-Just don’t click the link!
As technology provides new ways to expose and defend against familiar scams, clever con artists will devise new ones. Always be careful what you click on.
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