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There is a New Text Message Scam Out There. Beware, Guys!

Home Forums Personal Security There is a New Text Message Scam Out There. Beware, Guys!

This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  security43 6 years, 11 months ago.

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  • #1147 Reply

    Maru Quevedo
    Keymaster

    I knew that there were some text message scams where people respond to offers with their real name and contact information and get scammed, however I didn’t realize that now there are text message scams that are operating the same way that online scams are operating.  It’s really scary and it sucks.  Basically, you receive a text message, click on the link and it opens a window that downloads a virus.  This totally sucks.  I mean I never follow links for text spam anyway, but I’m not sure how exactly they are disguising these messages.  Here is what I’ve learned so far.

    I first heard about the story through a Missouri news portal, I think it was in Jefferson City that the story broke.  Basically, they warned the public that the messages can download malware to your phone that collects  your personal information without you even giving it to them.  The local attorney general said this was the most recent ploy being used by local identity thieves.  Basically, they persuade you by offering you free gift cards from Costco and Wal-Mart.  Since these stores are so popular, these cards are, of course desirous.

    The message asks you to click on the link in order to get your reward, however that click takes you nowhere and your phone becomes infected with malware, opening up your phone to identity thieves.  Depending on what you are using your phone for, they can have access to your bank information, credit card numbers or social security number.  The new name for this scam is, “smishing.”  This is actually an old story from June of 2012, however I’m just now hearing about it.

    For whatever reason, this is a prevalent problem in Missouri.  By now the problem could have spread some, however I have not met or known of anyone that’s been affected and pray that I won’t ever.  I felt that I should post this because I didn’t realize that this type of scam can occur with a cell phone, so I thought it was important to spread the word and that maybe I’m not the only one who didn’t know.

    The Missouri Attorney General, Chris Koster cautions that you should not open any emails from senders that you recognize or know well.

  • #1148 Reply

    security43

    When it comes to cell phones, some other rules apply, in my opinion.  If you see something from a well-known company like Paypal, or Amazon etc, it is really hard to tell whether or not the email is a scam on your small phone screen.  Do not open those emails on  your cell phone.  Only open those online where it's much easier to spot spam and phishing emails.

    It's best to just delete any emails that you aren't sure of.  You should also put a security freeze on your credit report if you feel that your information might be compromised.  In the USA, under the Fair Credit Reporting act, I think that you must authorize any queries on your credit report, so if you put a freeze on it, there's no way anyone can access  your credit profile and open credit in your name.  Just make sure that when you put the freeze on your report that no one else has access to your phone or can somehow authorize queries in your stead.

    Credit report security freezes usually cost something like $5, however if you are already a proven victim of this scam or any other identity theft scam, this service is free.  Like you, Fsteffen, I pray that there are no more victims of these crimes and that something happens to change these things.

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