When we discuss cybersecurity, our minds gravitate to securing strong passwords or learning best practices for online banking. But did you know that identity and financial mobile phone scams are on the rise? “Smishing” is a technique scammers use to send out text messages attempting to be from a reputable business and entice the recipient to reveal personal or financial information. According to a recent publication from the AARP Fraud Watch Network, RoboKiller, a call-security firm, has seen an 18% rise in spam texts when compared to 2022. Not only that, $330 million has been reported in losses from fraudulent texts by the Federal Trade Commission last year alone. Text-based fraud is quickly becoming an unwelcome, annoying, and more common form of cyber fraud. Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself.
When you receive a text from an unknown source, resist the temptation. Never click on hyperlinks within the text itself. Small screen Next, once you determine it’s a scam, immediately block the sender’s number on iPhone or Android and delete the message. Third, employ a mindfulness strategy when it comes to “opting in” for text notifications. Consider opting out of your current, legitimate text notifications and thus streamlining the quantity of incoming messages. You don’t need text alerts for tracking packages, for example, and by cutting back on these alerts, you’ll cut back opportunities to fall victims to smishing scams. Instead, consider receiving notifications within the Amazon, Fedex, or UPS apps directly.
Text scammers are becoming increasingly more sophisticated, with a shocking 50% increase of attacks on phones and mobile devices via text and voicemail. Scammers leave an urgent message regarding a text or email sent, attempting to add legitimacy to their scam. You might receive a message from a source claiming to be a government agency or credit card company warning you of payments unable to be processed, you have an undeliverable package, and unclaimed cryptocurrency.
These texts appear to be legitimate, as they’re designed to mimic the retailer or agency they’re spoofing. Links might take you to websites that look real, but if prompted to log in, scammers gain your username and password. Worse, clicking links most likely installs spyware on your mobile device, allowing smishers access to your personal and/or financial information.
Never interact or respond to these texts by answering back or trying to opt out of the scam. It lets scammers know there is a live person at the other end of the line and they’ve got you taking their bait. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Never fall victim to the urgency ploy. It’s best to block and delete a questionable message without even opening it.
Amp Up Your Cyber Defenses
Add a layer of protection by keeping your phone’s operating system up to date (which protects against malware hidden within smishing links) and cure any software vulnerabilities the manufacturer discovers. Investigate availability and utilize your mobile carrier’s free security tools. If your carrier is AT&T, you can take advantage of their mobile security app ActiveArmor℠, which helps to stop scams before they even get to you. Verizon has a call filter that helps you to identify spam calls in real-time. You can also subscribe to apps such as the aforementioned RoboKiller, which will alert you to the call’s legitimacy as it comes in. Compare RoboKiller to other commonly-used apps to see if it’s right for you. In today’s day and age, taking steps to educate and protect yourself and your loved ones from phishing and smishing scams is an absolute must.
At Organized Instincts, our team of daily money managers will help you recognize the influx of phishing and smishing scams. Schedule a no-obligation conversation today and learn how our team keeps your personal and financial information safe from scammers.
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