How To Protect Yourself Against Text Message Spam Attacks?
These days, you need to be wary of text messages from unknown numbers that ask you to click on a link.
These seemingly harmless messages could be an invitation to hackers into your phone. There has been a recent surge in a new scam called “smishing.” Here at Fisher Stark, P.A., we want to help you learn more about this scam so that you can protect yourself against this new form of fraud.
What is Smishing?
Smishing is a new form of “phishing”, in which a hacker will attempt to steal personal information through text messages. These messages can range from asking for passwords for verification to texts impersonating government agents.
Most smishing texts will have links in them that when opened will act as an entrance for hackers into your phone. The goal of the hacker is to get your passwords and credit card information.
Most people are aware that you should not click links in emails that you don’t recognize, but people are less aware when it comes to text messages. Many people assume that their smartphones are more secure than their computers. However, smartphone security has its limitations and cannot always protect you against smishing.
Who are Smishing Targets
Android users are the main targets of these fraudsters (or smishermen ) because there are more android users than iPhone users and Android offers greater flexibility for both their users and unfortunately, hackers as well.
Even though Apple products have a good reputation for security, this can cause Apple users to be overconfident. Currently there is no mobile operating system that can protect you from a phishing or smishing attack.
How to Protect Yourself from Smishing
Although all phones are vulnerable to a smishing attack, there is good news. There are easy ways to protect yourself. There are several indicators of smishing but it is always best to be cautious when dealing with unknown text messages. Here are a few ways to protect yourself from these attacks:
• Financial institutions will not send you text messages asking for account information or card information. If you receive a message from a bank that asks you to click on a link in the message it is likely fraud. If you are unsure, call your bank and ask about the message.
• Regard calls to action/ emergency texts from unknown numbers as warning signs of hacking attempts. Do not click links from these messages.
• Simply don’t respond to suspicious messaging…don’t take the bait.
• Report all smishing attack attempts to the Federal Communications Commission (https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov/hc/en-us) to help protect others.
• Look out for suspicious numbers that don’t look like standard phone numbers. These numbers are likely linked to email-to-text services which are often used for mass messaging by hackers.
• Don’t store any credit card information on your phone. Hackers can’t steal the information off of your phone if there isn’t any information there to begin with.
The best way to handle smishing messages is to ignore and delete them. Do not respond or click on any links that are from a number that you do not recognize. The texts may seem real, but most companies will not ask for any personal information over text.
Another good rule of thumb is if something seems to good to be true, it probably is. These scams rely on trickery, don’t let yourself be fooled by these schemes.
What can you do if you are a victim of smishing?
There are steps that you should take to minimize the damage that can be done by these scams. First, you should change your passwords and lock your credit cards and bank accounts.
You should file a report with the Federal Trade Commission (Report Fraud Online) to help protect others. Make sure that any numbers that were part of the smishing campaign are blocked and deleted. You should also inform both your phone company and your credit card company.
We hope you found this article helpful. Community matters to us here at Fisher Stark, and we can all play a role in helping each other out. If you need legal assistance, please reach out to us at 828-505-4300.
We will work hard to get you the justice & fair compensation you deserve. Fisher Stark, P.A. is a highly respected personal injury law firm in Asheville, NC. We provide experienced legal help for clients in Asheville, NC, and all the communities in Western North Carolina. Collectively, our legal team – Perry Fisher and Brad Stark – have more than 50 years of trial practice and have participated in more than 1,000+ injury cases. Call 828-505-4300 for a free consultation.